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Maritime to lead economic diversification — Buhari

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…as Amaechi calls for a meeting on CVFF
By Godfrey Bivbere & Godwin Oritse
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday said that the Federal Government is repositioning the Nigerian maritime sector to take a leading position as alternative source of revenue in growing the economy in with its economic diversification programme.


The President who was the Special Guest of Honour at a public book presentation titled: Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future, authored by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Bashir Jamoh, said that there is no change without pain, hence the need for Nigerians to keep faith with the Federal Government’s determination to rejuvenate Nigeria’s economy.

President Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated: ‘‘Nigeria has relied so much on the crude oil economy; it is time to focus on other sources particularly the Blue Economy which covers both aquatic and marine spaces including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground waters; which also encompasses a range of productive sectors including Fisheries, Aquaculture, Tourism, Transport, Ship building, energy, bio-prospecting, under-water mining and related activities, all pointing towards economic prosperity, when adequately harnessed.

“We know that the maritime sector has so much to offer the economy in terms of jobs and wealth creation and also contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On our part as a government, we are determined to walk the talk so that our economic diversification initiative will be fully achieved for the benefit of all Nigerians”, the President said.

He commended the Dr. Dakuku Peterside led Management of NIMASA for its efforts in repositioning the maritime sector and for its huge contributions to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government.

He added that there is a new NIMASA, noting that the Agency has been transformed to being alive to its mandates.

Commenting on the book, Amaechi stated that it is a document that should be given adequate consideration as it speaks to the Authority and other stakeholders in the maritime sector.
Speaking further he said the Federal Ministry of Transportation understands stakeholders’ yearnings for urgent review of the guidelines for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF), and called for an immediate meeting in his office to find a lasting solution to it.

The event also had in attendance, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who buttressed the Federal Government’s quest for diversification, adding that the government is willing to implement any new idea that will bring about a boost to the Nigerian economy.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, also joined his counterparts in Government to assure that the military will continue to provide necessary security for the protection of the nation’s economy, including the maritime sector where the Army, Navy and Air Force are currently playing major roles in protecting our assets.

On his part, the author of the book, Mr. Bashir Jamoh noted that the book was borne out of his passion for the development of the maritime sector, adding that this is just the beginning for Nigeria as the intention of the book is to expose the vast opportunities in the maritime sector to equally do well as oil and agriculture have done to the economy.

The NIMASA Executive Director who is a seasoned administrator with over 25 years’ experience in the maritime sector is currently a Ph. D student at the University of Port Harcourt, specializing in Logistics and Transport Management.

Dignitaries at the occasion include; representatives of the Emirs of Kano, HRH, Sanusi Lamido II and the Emir of Zauzau, HRH, Dr. Shehu Idris.

Others include; Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, who was represented by his Deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mr. Garba Shehu, past Director Generals of NIMASA, key industry players amongst other.

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