Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Temisan Omatseye, has said that Nigeria is the immediate future destination for African Maritime activities.
Omatseye who stated this while speaking at the Investment Business forum organised by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) to commemorate Nigeria’s fifty years of independence, said the country has infinite possibilities for economic opportunities in the maritime sector.
In his paper titled: Nigeria as an African Trade Hub, the NIMASA D-G highlighted the vast opportunities in the Nigerian maritime sector to include ship building and ship repairs, human capacity development, ship breaking and recycle facilities amongst others.
He advised the potential investors who converged on Abuja from various Commonwealth countries across the world to explore available windows based on public_ private, private_private and government-government partnerships.
While noting that Nigeria accounts for over 65% of the total maritime trade traffic in volume and value within the West and Central African sub_region, Mr. Omatseye said that his administration is committed to transforming Nigeria into a regional maritime centre and hub for maritime services.
A press statement signed by Ego Nwokocha, Deputy Director in charge of Public Relations of the apex maritime regulatory agency, noted that the NIMASA boss stressed the need to increase the participation of indigenous players in the Nigerian maritime sector, adding that steps have been taken to lay the foundation for the country to possess a competitive indigenous fleet with capacity to effectively carry at least 50 per cent of Nigeria’s international seaborne trade including crude oil and gas export.
“Our immediate priority is to develop those aspects of Nigeria’s maritime and shipping industry that are critical to support and facilitate trade and economic development in the country.”
He informed the potential stakeholders that NIMASA has provided comprehensive incentives ranging from Fiscal to administrative measures such as tax breaks, concessionary tariff rates, etc.
He declared the agency’s preparedness to partner the private sector to develop a model that will exploit the natural habitat of the Niger-Delta region of the country to build an integrated maritime economy in the region.
In his words, “This concept, when fully implemented, will lead to massive development of maritime and shipping infrastructure such as specialized deep sea port, shipbuilding yards, training institutions, and cluster services amongst others. This will surely provide huge employment opportunities to absorb restive youths in the region”.
Mr. Omatseye, who declared that a reasonable ship building and ship repair capacity, is required to facilitate real implementation of the Cabotage policy in Nigeria advised investors to take advantage of the yet to be fully developed maritime and shipping sector in Nigeria.