By Godfrey Bivbere
The Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, has said that the maritime industry is the best option for the diversification of the nation’s economy.
Jamoh who disclosed this in Abuja in a paper presented at the National Defence College, NDC, said that with many countries proposing a ban on the use of fossil fuels and the world transitioning from oil, it is imperative to exploit alternative sources of funding.
The lecture titled, “Maritime Security and National Development in Nigeria: The Role of NIMASA,” was for NDC Course 29 participants.
Jamoh said maritime had enormous potential to drive sustainable development in Nigeria, with huge investment opportunities in shipbuilding and repairs, offshore/floating spare parts sales and maintenance, freshwater bunkering and supply, dredging, and inland waterways transportation.
According to him, about 75 percent of all Gulf of Guinea-bound cargo are destined for Nigeria and if properly harnessed, maritime could give the country 30 times more than the revenue from oil.
“Oil contributes about 70 percent of government revenue and nearly 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria. But Nigeria is trying to move away from the near total dependence on oil” Jamoh said.
On security and infrastructure development, he highlighted the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure also called the Deep Blue Project and the various fleet expansion and shipbuilding plans as measures to ensure a conducive environment for investment in the maritime industry.
“We are tackling the security issues in our waters, and we know that the international community is concerned, and the stakeholders are mindful of our efforts. Those who do business in our maritime environment want to make sure that when they arrive Nigeria safely, they are also able to leave Nigeria safely.”
In his remarks, Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadir, called for a positive reorientation towards maritime. Kadir commended the NIMASA Director-General for his efforts towards the growth of the maritime industry and intensification of the collaborative spirit among relevant organisations in the sector.