By Gabriel Ewepu
A maritime economist and Founder of Safewater Energy and Environmental Restoration Limited, SWEERGLOBAL, Dr Thaddaeus Thompson, has charged the Federal Government to do more on maritime security in order to boost investors’ confidence in the nation’s economy.
Thompson stated this while speaking on kidnapping, hijacking, smuggling and other criminal activities that occur in the nation’s maritime industry, thereby scaring away investors from the industry and economy at large.
He also cautioned that when maritime security is not given the needed attention coupled with strong political will, it destabilizes the country’s economic and social growth.
He stated: “A strong and effective maritime security will boost investment and economic growth in Nigeria. Lowering tariffs will encourage businesses to increase engagements at the seaports, but a lasting economic growth will not solely depend on low tariffs at the seaports but rather the establishment of effective security models.
“The focal point of maritime security has shifted from focusing on preventive measures against smugglers of illicit drugs and contraband to national security concerns, such as terrorist attacks, political and economic instability. When neglected, maritime insecurity could lead to destabilization of a country’s economic and social growth, investors will be discouraged if safety is compromised.
“The introduction of terrorism either through natural or artificial means into every aspect of society has posed an undeniable challenge that cannot be ignored whether it favours or disfavours a political cause. Weapons trafficking and insurgency are widely blamed on the lack of effective maritime security, due to limited available information about attacks and the variation of the attacks.
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“Low tariffs may encourage investment but how would you convince investors to bet on a country that is unable to implement an effective maritime security policy?”
The SWEERGLOBAL boss suggested that the government should collaborate with relevant stakeholders to boost the nation’s maritime sector.
He further stated: “To enhance maritime security in shipping companies, a number of compulsory and voluntary regulations must be implemented. There are benefits when properly coordinated methods at various levels if effectively implemented.
“First, the security management model must be validated for proof of its effectiveness. The model must serve as a guide for shipping companies and it must clearly outline effective implementation of compulsory and voluntary requirements.
“Secondly, the proposed model must be carefully studied and implemented, and then observed to identify how it impacts organizational performance, because the goal is to create an economic benefit and not to jeopardize or create economic downfall for companies.’’