The Nigerian economy is currently losing out in the massive opportunities inherent in the multibillion dollars blue economy due to the inability to harness the enormous potentials.
This was disclosed yesterday by the director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside at the 2019 African Day of Seas and Oceans tagged: “Harnessing Nigeria’s Marine Biodiversity for Accelerated Growth,” in Lagos.
The NIMASA DG said even though the global community was looking towards the ocean and sea for economic prosperity, such cannot be said of African countries.
According to him, there was the need for government and critical stakeholders in the maritime sector to put in place measures that would facilitate and promote sustainable use, protection and preservation of the abundant resources in Nigeria seas and oceans.
He said, “Marine biodiversity as you are aware consists of the different species, their riches and abundance in the world’s oceans and seas. The sustainability of these diverse species which are abound in African seas and oceans is not only important to us as Africans, but also of a direct economic benefit to us as a nation.”
Dakuku stated that while the blue economy contributed $962billion to China’s economy in 2014, the United States got $258billion in 2010.
“The global community is looking more and more towards the seas and oceans for economic prosperity. According to an Economist Intelligence Unit Report (EIUR), China’s ocean economy contributed $962 billion or 10 per cent of GDP in 2014 employing 9million people. The United States similarly valued its ocean economy at $258billion in 2010or 1.8 per cent of the gross domestic product.
“These statistics underscore the inherent and diverse opportunities which Nigeria can as a nation use for rapid economic transformation and development.”
He however assured that the agency would ensure formulation of policies that would develop the nation’s marine biodiversity for economic growth.
“As a maritime safety administration, Nigeria is committed to focusing its attention on formulating policies that are in tandem with the development of our marine biodiversity towards enhancing Nigeria’s economic growth in line with the government agenda for the diversification of the economy. In this regard, we are committed to the prioritisation of the economy as veritable tool for economic development improved livelihood and job creation while preserving the health of our ocean economy.”
Also speaking, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said the national assembly was committed towards the nation’s quest for sustainable use and exploration of its seas and oceans to maximise the country’s vast economic potentials.
Represented by a member of the house representatives, Onitsha north and south federal constituency, Linda Ikpeazu, Gbajabiamila noted that efficient management and sustainable exploitation of the marine resources would provide a veritable tool for the nation’s Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and give expression to the nation’s sustainable development goals.
He assured that the national assembly would support the efforts of the executive arm of government to see to the effective domestication of relevant international conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on marine environment management through legislative enactments.
He added, “The national assembly would also work with the executive arm in putting in place the necessary legal framework for the blue economy to engender and protect the Nigerian marine environment and development of the ocean economy.”
Speaking earlier, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Melekolo Kyari said that NNPC as a corporation shall always support NIMASA in its efforts to harness the opportunities in the marine environment which ultimately would help accelerate the country’s economic growth.