The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, say his ministry has considered the re-establishment of a national shipping line to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market in Nigeria.
The Minister maintained that the initiative, the national shipping line, would not impede the growth of local players but rather to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs.
Oyetola stated this in his speech at the stakeholders roundtable engagement on advancing sustainable development in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy in Lagos today, adding that the shipping line would enable local businesses to better leverage the Cabotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control locally generated seaborne trade.
Oyetola said “the ministry’s decision to consider the re-establishment of a National Shipping Line, through a strategic PPP arrangement, is borne out of our desire to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market within the country. Let me hasten to say that this initiative will not seek to impede the growth of local players but rather to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs. This would enable our local businesses to better leverage the Cabotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control locally generated seaborne trade.”
He said he was delighted in the engagement bringing together players in the sector to discuss and chart a roadmap/direction that will advance the industry’s potential, promote sustainable Blue Economy investments and ensure global competitiveness within the sector.
According to the Minister, “it is important to state that Nigeria is indeed a Jewel in Africa. With her expansive coastline stretching over eight hundred and fifty three (853) kilometers along the Atlantic Ocean and a network of potentially navigable waterways covering ten thousand kilometers (10,000 km) across Twenty-Eight (28) of her 36 states, Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy stands as a pivotal sector to foster sustainable economic growth of the nation.
‘It is worth noting that this engagement forum is crucial to the development of the sector as it offers an opportunity for us all to collectively contribute our perspectives, ideas and offer relevant inputs that can propel the sector to the trajectory of success necessary to support the development of the economy as well as meet the expectations of Mr. President who took the courage to open up Nigeria to focus on the Blue Economy Value Chain.”
Oyetola said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s zeal for a better life for Nigerians propelled him to unveil 8 Presidential Priorities to address critical challenges, noting that the ministry conceded to the roundtable to harvest ideas that would form part of our roadmap and policy direction.
“The zeal for a better life for Nigerians propelled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to recently unveil 8 Presidential Priorities to address critical national challenges. These priorities are to be delivered through 8 focus areas, namely: economic growth, food security, energy and natural resources, infrastructure development, security, healthcare, education, improved governance, and job creation.
“To actualise these Priorities, our Ministry has also moved a step further by putting up this Roundtable so that we can harvest ideas that would form part of our roadmap and policy direction. This is why today we will be looking at such areas like Strengthening the Blue Governance; Transforming Port Operations; Enhancing Port Infrastructure; and Promoting Blue Economy Investments. This roadmap is designed in such a way as to enable our Ministry fulfil its mission of formulating and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives that will facilitate the development of an inclusive Marine and Blue Economy Ecosystem, driven by an operating environment that meets global best standards as well as fulfil its vision of positioning Nigeria as a premier Maritime Nation by utilising the potential of its blue economy to diversify revenue, assure sustainable development and cultivate environmental stewardship.
“You wilI all agree with me that it is no longer business as usual, as there is an urgent need for a collaborative effort to brainstorm and devise strategies to leverage our marine resources for the betterment of the economy and safety of our planet. It is imperative we come up with practicable ways of ensuring that our Inland Rivers, Lakes and Waterways are well utilised for cargo shipment and passenger transportation.
“I believe we can transform this sector through the innovative Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models that the ministry has embraced. This model, a collaborative synergy between the private sector’s efficiency and the public sector’s oversight, is set to bring about transformative impact on the marine and blue economy. Anticipated outcomes include the creation of substantial job opportunities and the facilitation of increased trade and investment in the nation, reinforcing our collaborative and forward-looking approach.
“I am aware that the sector is very vast with its unique challenges. Nevertheless, let me assure you that I am committed to bequeathing to Nigerians a better sector than we have met today. Our Ministry though new, is not resting on its oars and has continued to foster Inter-Agency collaborations and implement initiatives to promote Port efficiency, cargo shipment, maritime security and tap into the resources of the Seabed,” said the Minister.