Shippers Council Advocates ‘Blue Economy’ to Boost Revenue

Shippers Council Advocates ‘Blue Economy’ to Boost Revenue

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has urged agencies in the maritime industry to promote what it calls the blue economy to earn huge revenue  for the country.

Its Executive Secretary, Mr Hassan Bello, stated that the country has abundant marine resources which would raise the standard of living, if tapped.

The council, he said, was working with the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the ‘’efficient exploitation of marine resources’’.

According to Bello, the blue economy, covers both aquatic and marine spaces, including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers, underground water, fisheries, aqua-culture, tourism, transport, shipbuilding, energy, bioprospecting, and underwater mining.

He said the country was well-positioned to rake revenue from the sector based on its huge maritime traffic, a population of over 180 million and a coastline measuring about 850km.

The oceans and seas, Bello said, were ideal conditions for fishermen, pointing out that issues which must be addressed were holding back a blue economy there.

“Another barrier to economic development is piracy, which has become a major obstacle to growth and development. Pollution is also damaging our marine environments, particularly from some of the ships calling at our ports. Therefore, government agencies need to come together to fashion out plans and coordinated action to control crime, exploitation and pollution, among others. Coordinated action through agencies in the sector and groups, such as the African Union will give us better result.

“The Blue economy, encapsulating all of the potential of our oceanic resources, offers us a platform for Africa’s transformation both in terms of Agenda 2063 and in terms of the post-2015 Development Agenda and the sustainable development goals.

“The majority of world trade is by sea. The majority of the world’s oil shipments are by sea. There is no food security without a sustainable ocean. The majority of new mineral resources will not be found on land but in the sea. The blue economy is Africa’s future and Nigeria must take the lead.”

Blue economy, according to him, are wealth derivable from oceans and seas and other economic activities derived from the maritime sector.

Government agencies, Bello said, need to collaborate to transform the  sector into a huge revenue earner for the government and country as a whole country.

To initiate policies and programmes that will increase the revenue base of the country, Bello said, were part of the mandate of most of the government agencies in the maritime sector and dividends of the blue economy being promoted by the Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi through NIMASA.

He stressed the need for investment in the sector which he said had similar potential and opportunities that exist in countries, such as South Korea, Ukraine, Singapore and other countries, which thrive on their industry.

Bello said there was need to use the sector to derive more benefits for the country and its people.

He charged government agencies and Nigerians to invest in the opportunities afforded by the Blue Economy, stating that it is the fastest growing sector in the world with enormous business potential.

“Government agencies must initiate policies and programmes that will increase the revenue base of the government. Both the public and private sector have to collaborate to sustainably harness the potential of our maritime sector for the benefit of the nation’s economy, especially as the Federal Government continues the economic diversification drive.”

Some of the areas to be looked into, he said, include fisheries, the coastline itself, mangroves, carbon absorption, seagrass beds and corals reefs and carbon sequestration, among others. In South Africa for instance, the blue economy could   generate one million jobs by 2033.

Government policy on the blue economy, he said, should be centered on coastal tourism, offshore oil and gas exploration, deep and short-sea shipping, cruise tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, inland water way transport, offshore wind, blue biotechnology, marine mineral mining, marine aquatic products and ocean renewable energy.

 

Source: The Nation Nigeria

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