• Says VP Osinbajo now heads expanded committee on sustainable blue economy
By Francis Ugwoke
The Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, His Excellency Kitack Lim on Monday commended Nigeria on successes recorded against piracy on her territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
Lim who spoke on the occasion of Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS) held in Lagos said that while the world apex maritime organization continues to look at ways of assisting Nigeria and other African member states, it was pleased with the efforts made so far in addressing issues of piracy.
He congratulated the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for championing the war against piracy in collaboration with the Nigeria Navy.
He said, “As we continue to look at ways the International Maritime Organization (IMO) can assist Nigeria, and other African member states, in increasing their maritime capabilities, I wish to use this opportunity to congratulate NIMASA for the successes recorded in reducing piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria’s territorial waters, and the Gulf of Guinea area, to record low levels”
“We understand that this has come about through NIMASA’s collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, as well as local and international partners and for this, we say congratulations”.
The Transportation Minister, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, had in his welcome address at the NIMS extended President Muhammadu Buhari’s warm welcome to the IMO SG and his delegation.
Sambo identified some of the challenges in achieving a sustainable approach to harnessing the blue economy in Nigeria as mainly finance.
Identifying lots of opportunities, he however said the biggest challenge was finance, adding that it remains a “critical driver for unlocking the potential of the blue economy in Africa and in particular Nigeria”.
He added, “Sustainable financing models are therefore important to build critical maritime assets such as shipyards and ports across the country”.
He also pointed out other issues currently dominating discussions in the global community as how to reshape the way the shipping industry operates in the face of current and future challenges of changing climate and the need for rapid decarbonisation by 2050.
Sambo explained that Nigeria’s commitment to the sustainability of the blue economy “is demonstrated by the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
He added, “To this end, an Expanded Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria (ECSBEN) under the leadership of no less a person than the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is driving the implementation process and to perfect the agenda for a national strategy.
“This agenda amongst others is focused on providing an assessment of the current realities, opportunities and challenges for economic diversification and the growth of a sustainable blue economy; including the identification and review of relevant policies and institutional/capacity-building mechanisms.
“This is in addition to the identification of regional and cross-border partnerships necessary for the implementation of the blue economy plan, the relevant sectors, actors and linkages, and the development of a national action plan with an implementation strategy for the Nigerian blue economy”.
It would be recalled that the IMO SG had during the reception held in his honour declared Nigeria as a very important country not only to Africa, but to the global economy.
In his words “This is my first time in Nigeria. I thank the Honorable Minister of Transportation, Engineer Jaji Sambo and his team from the Ministry for inviting me. I also want to thank the Director General of, NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh and other industry stakeholders. As far as I am concerned, Nigeria is one of the most important countries not only for Africa but in the global economy. The country is blessed with huge potentials, huge natural resources, and above all very nice people. I have had pleasant experience from my interactions with Nigerians at the IMO, and I am excited to be here”.
Among those who attended the reception include the Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo , Permanent Secretary Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Heads of Agencies under the Ministry, and stakeholders from the Nigerian maritime industry were on hand to meet the IMO Secretary General.
Officials of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas NLNG Ship Management limited were among the stakeholders who attended the reception.
NLNG is also partnering NIMASA in the Deep Blue Project operational engagement session scheduled as part of the activities of the IMO Sec Gen visit to Nigeria.