• Collaborations key to optimizing comparative advantages of blue economy – NIMASA DG
• Behavioral change will facilitate progress of sustainable blue economy – NPA MD
• Nigeria’s Ocean is blessed with abundance of blue economy resources – Shippers’ Council boss
• League should maintain agenda setting on maritime initiatives – Shittu
By Francis Ugwoke
Prominent stakeholders in the maritime sector have advocated for fresh measures to be adopted to ensure that the Blue Economy contributes immensely to the development of the Nigerian society.
The stakeholders include the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) , Muhammed Bello Koko ,the Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council(NSC), Hon Emmanuel Jime and the Patron of the League of Maritime Editors, Prince Olayiwola Shittu , who is an ex- President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents(ANLCA).
The key stakeholders were guests of the League of Maritime Editors’ (LOME) Roundtable which was part of the inauguration of its Secretariat in Lagos weekend.
During the Roundtable, titled ,’’ How to Achieve the Benefits of the Blue Economy’’ and chaired by the League Patron, Shittu, the NIMASA DG said that the blue economy is already operational, but required the proper identification of comparative advantages for the purpose of what is potentially advantageous and sustainable.
Jamoh who was represented by the Director External Relations, Isichie Osamgbi, challenged industry players and operators to see themselves as co-drivers in the journey towards the success of the Blue economy , saying without this , the success story of the Blue economy cannot be complete.
Jamoh , disclosed that, whereas the blue economy in Nigeria is still unfolding, it is at the stage where a collaboration of efforts must concentrate at optimizing the comparative advantages in order to remain competitive in the global space.
The DG NIMASA said the country must tell herself the truth that the blue economy holds the front row potential in resource growth and as a leading revenue projection and hence should be accorded the right attention to drive its explorations.
“Today we are no longer talking about benefits of the blue economy, we have passed that conception stage, current discussions should be how to tap into the various strata, the unfolding of the separate gold mines as already enshrined in the NIMASA Act.
“We need to do more collectively to improve on our individual spheres of contribution and achieve a sustainable template that will create beneficial impact. For us, the effort to strengthen maritime security and achieve maritime safety, grow shipping development, marine tourism and cruise transportation are key considerations we keep expanding.
“So, time has come to maximize our abundance in the blue economy and to also be able to operationalize their economic benefits by looking at the comparative advantages each resource provides. We must be determined and focused, we are not the first to have maritime security challenges, Singapore’s niche market is blue economy, we must have the political and operational will to tackle insecurity as top of the identified monster.
“We must come together and set the agenda for a functional blue economy and it is commendable that the League of Maritime Editors has been doing this, because however we look at it, today, the blue economy and the maritime domain holds the biggest prospect for achieving the required GDP”.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko represented by the Tin Can Island Port Manager, Jibril Buba, advocated enhanced capacities through deliberate policy and stakeholders actions necessary to drive the processes.
While applauding LOME for providing the arena to brainstorm on the dynamics of the blue economy, Bello-Koko said the Authority has for a long time already prepared the grounds for its takeoff and consistent with the full realization is always providing the enabling environment through which the required efficiencies, competences and capacities can be developed and sustained.
The NPA boss commended LOME for the acquisition of its secretariat which has been designed to also serve as Centre for Media Advocacy, noting that the place will serve as catalyst for positive change in the industry.
In his contribution, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Hon Emmanuel Jime represented by the Council’s Director Consumer Affairs Department, Chief Cajetan Agu , described blue economy, as having huge economic potentials that should be harnessed by all.
Describing Nigeria as a blessed country in terms of the abundance of Blue Economy, the NSC CEO said what is needed is to harness the potential of the blue economy.
Jime pointed out that the opportunities embedded in blue economy were so much that it has become the project of the entire African Union (AU).
The NSC boss identified the potential of blue economy as shipping, fisheries, underwater mining, cruise transportation, tourism, among others.
He said that realizing these potentials, the AU sees blue economy as a project which no country will do alone because of the issue of security.
Jime stated that the criminals move around in different territorial waters, and as such the blue economy needs to be implemented together. He disclosed that the AU has developed a model on blue economy after studying the potential, adding that for the body, it is the rebirth of African renaissance.
He however acknowledged that Nigeria through NIMASA has been able to reduce drastically the issue of piracy in her territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea (GoG.
Before the League’s Patron cut the tape to inaugurate the Secretariat, the NIMASA DG, NPA MD, and the Shippers’ Council ES/ CEO, had identified the various benefits that would accrue to the League from having its own Secretariat and encouraged the members of the Association to tap into those benefits.
They all, lauded the various contributions of the League members, to the development of the maritime sector, and urged the League to ensure that it uses the Secretariat to brainstorm to set agenda for the success of the Blue Economy, as well as the additional progress of the shipping sector.
Shittu, particularly charged the League , to consider building its own Secretariat being senior practitioners, and appealed to industry stakeholders to support the initiative whenever it comes on stream.
“I am very delighted to be part of this epoch making event, some of you l have known over the years, two, three decades, I remember those days while serving under Alhaji Sanni kamba in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents and l was the National Publicity secretary, even though l was based in Port Harcourt, l was always coming around for meetings and briefings, so all along l have been part of you.”
“I foresee a future where we will be moving out of this apartment and going to our own property. Despite their moderate critical reporting as senior practitioners, l think that it is good for the industry.
“But generally, people should also be able to criticize certain reports, especially misleading reports. One of the mistakes we make is that we read stories and forget to read the commentaries or push out reactions.
“I am delighted to see the representatives of the CEOs of the agencies at the commissioning of your Secretariat, this shows mutual respect, even though they get you to attend their commissioning events all the time, it is good they identify with you during your own one off events.
“Knowing that your profession is one of utmost service with very little monetary attachment, l am sure that if you ask them for water to support your secretariat, they will give you wine”., he had said.
Earlier, in his speech, the President of the League, Chief Timothy Okorocha had told the guests that the Monthly Roundtable Parley of the Association , which was on hold is now back , assuring that the League would again be providing the missing nexus in the industry, with regards to developmental journalism, and the essential advocacy that nations depend upon to nurture their peculiar circumstances and to build their capacities .
He expressed the League’s appreciation to all the stakeholders that have assisted the Association in one form or the other, noting that , since , the Secretariat that is being inaugurated , is the beginning of a new long journey, LOME will still need their support to make the Secretariat, a Center of Media Advocacy, as conceived by the body’s immediate past Executive.