Tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, harnessing marine tourism, safety and security are top of the agenda of his administration as Minister of the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue economy, said the Honourable Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy, His Excellency Adegboyega Oyetola.
He mentioned this during a working visit to NIMASA headquarters in Lagos, where he met with the Top Management staff of the Agency. In his word the time has come for Nigeria to fully harness its vast potentials in the maritime sector, identifying that the working visit was to ascertain and properly appraise the situation of things, not only that with a view of taking the practical and measurable steps in tackling them.
In his words, “Today, we have come to see some of the things you told us in Abuja and to properly review the situation of things with a view to taking practical steps towards addressing them. I am particularly interested in the NIMASA Modular Floating Dock because of its potential to generate employment and stemmed capital flight. But we must find a way of ensuring stakeholders’ buy-in, in whatever we do so that we are seen to be working together for the growth and development of Nigeria”.
The Minister also stated that it was time for Nigeria to float a National Carrier, emphasizing that through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement, and the support of stakeholders, the maritime industries and Nigeria in general will benefit from this plan.
The Minister averred that management of the resources of Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy entailed proactive, smart and strategic thinking. He called for the rediscovery, harnessing and packaging of the nation’s maritime resources, including seafood, together with the associated international standards and specifications.
The Minister, who out cried for foreign dominance of the fishing industry, assured that the it will be a different as far as he is involved. In his words “According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the fisheries sector contributed 1.09% of the country’s total GDP in the year 2020 and 0.9% in the Q3 of 2021. We are regarded as a net importer of fishery products. But we are determined to change the narrative by putting in place measures to make Nigeria a major player in that regard”.
Oyetola emphasized how safety and security of the maritime corridors of Nigeria was a priority area in his agenda for the ministry, he said that without safety and security, there can never be a reasonable achievement in the industry. He added that with the rich endowments of her marine and blue economy, Nigeria had no justification not to develop marine tourism, which is a revenue-spinner for most countries, especially at the period when diversification of the economy from oil was sacrosanct.
In his words, “Nigeria makes up about 853 kilometres of the estimated 47,000 kilometres of coastline in Africa. Nigeria has one of the largest wetlands in the world, with its coastal and marine ecosystems covering a total of 70,000 square kilometres. There are countries around the world that rely solely on earnings from the tourism sector. Here in Nigeria, we also have what it takes to attract tourists to waters. Therefore, we shall be developing the infrastructure in cities and towns that are lake or coastal facing for this purpose”.
The management of NIMASA was commended by the Minister under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR, for his grit and determination in ensuring that the Agency fulfils its mandates. He emphasized that he has much confidence in the capabilities and dedication of the Agency’s management and stated that he looked forward to witnessing the continued success of NIMASA controlling the future of the country’s maritime sector, reiterating that together, a thriving marine and blue economy that benefits everyone can be achieved.
In an opening remarks, Jamoh welcomed the Minister to the Agency, declaring that his appointment was unique and timely. The DG noted that the uniqueness of the Minister’s appointment was focused on the industry and stakeholders’ out cry for independence, and the magnanimity of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, showed that the President pays attention.
He also inspected the NIMASA Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and intelligence, Marine Environment Management Laboratory, the newly acquired NIMASA headquarters, C4i Centre, NIMASA e-library, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio room, Search and Rescue Base Clinic and the NIMASA Skill Acquisition Centre in Apapa during his visit.