– FG to re-establish National Shipping Line to share from $10bn Ship Charter Market
By Innocent Orok
To fully transform the Nigerian maritime industry, through the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy Ministry, Adegboyeka Oyetola CON has said that, the sector needs a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to fully harnessed its potentials.
Oyetola, said this on Tuesday in Lagos , during a Stakeholders Roundtable on Advancing Sustainable Development in Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy. He said the roundtable was to engage all the stakeholders on advancing sustainable development in Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy sector. And to also bring together players in the sector to discuss and chart a roadmap/direction that will advance the industry’s potential, promote sustainable Blue Economy investments and ensure global competitiveness within the sector.
According to the Minister, ” It is important to state that Nigeria is indeed a Jewel in Africa. With her expansive coastline stretching over eight 853 kilometers along the Atlantic Ocean and a network of potentially navigable 10,000 km across 28 of her 36 States, Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy stands as a pivotal sector to foster sustainable economic growth of the nation.”
He noted that the development of the sector offers an opportunity for us all to collectively contribute our perspectives, ideas and offer relevant inputs that can propel the sector to the trajectory.
” The zeal for a better life for Nigerians propelled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR to recently unveil Eight Presidential Priorities to address critical national challenges. These priorities are to be delivered through eight focus areas, namely: Economic growth, Food security, Energy and natural resources, Infrastructure development, Security, Healthcare, Education, Improved governance, and Job creation.
“To actualise these Priorities, our Ministry has also moved a step further by putting up this roundtable so that we can harvest ideas that would form part of our roadmap and policy direction. This is why today we will be looking at such areas like Strengthening the Blue Governance; Transforming Port Operations; Enhancing Port Infrastructure; and Promoting Blue Economy Investments.
“This roadmap is designed in such a way as to enable our Ministry fulfil its mission of formulating and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives that will facilitate the development of an inclusive Marine and Blue Economy Ecosystem, driven by an operating environment that meets global best standards as well as fulfil its vision of positioning Nigeria as a premier Maritime nation by utilising the potential of its blue economy to diversify revenue, assure sustainable development and cultivate environmental stewardship,” the minister said.
He said it will not be business as usual as there is urgent need for collaborative efforts to brainstorm. ” At this juncture, you will all agree with me that it is no longer business as usual, as there is an urgent need for a collaborative effort to brainstorm and devise strategies to leverage our marine resources for the betterment of the economy and safety of our planet. It is imperative we come up with practicable ways of ensuring that our Inland Rivers, Lakes and Waterways are well utilised for cargo shipment and passenger transportation.
“I believe we can transform this sector through the innovative Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models that the ministry has embraced. This model, a collaborative synergy between the private sector’s efficiency and the public sector’s oversight, is set to bring about transformative impact on the marine and blue economy. Anticipated outcomes include the creation of substantial job opportunities and the facilitation of increased trade and investment in the nation, reinforcing our collaborative and forward-looking approach.
Oyetola inform the gathering that the Ministry is considering the re-establishment of National Shipping Line through PPP to share from the over $10bn Ship Chatter Market.
“Before I conclude, let me add that the ministry’s decision to consider the re-establishment of a National Shipping Line, through a strategic PPP arrangement, is borne out of our desire to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market within the country.
“Let me hasten to say that this initiative will not seek to impede the growth of local players, but rather to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs. This would enable our local businesses to better leverage the Carbotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control locally generated seaborne trade”, Oyetola assured.
In her opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy Dr Magdalene Ajani said the maritime industry is also blessed with many experts including captain of Maritime Industries, indigenous ship owners, terminal operators, freight forwarders, shipping lines, barge operators, maritime lawyers, stevedoring companies, women groups etc who are in the hall today and have paid huge sacrifices in advancing the Nigerian Maritime Industry to its presence state.
She said “this Stakeholders Forum has been designed for us to inform, equip and enable us to share knowledge on critical issues affecting the Maritime Sector particularly as the new Administration has deemed it fit to showcase the potentials of the Marine and Blue Economy as well has harness its opportunities for the benefit of Nigerians. Let us lend our voice as we begin this Journey of more growth for the Maritime Industry.”
“Permit me at this juncture to extend my highest regards to my boss His Excellency, Adegboyega Oyetola CON for seeing the need to call the pillars of the Maritime Industry for a tete-a-tete, this is indeed a Step in the right direction.
” I commend my colleagues the Directors of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy for their undivided support, the Chief Executives of the Ministry’s Agencies, the Private Sector Partners here present, the seasoned resource persons present here today, the Maritime Stakeholders, Security Agencies as well as the Press, we appreciate you. We are all gathered here because of the Zeal we have for our dear Country Nigeria. It is my utmost believe that this zeal will yield enormous Success for the Maritime Sector and Nigeria as a whole. Let us make our contributions that will set the pace and enable us fulfill our goal for the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy”, Ajani said.
The event was jam-packed with who is who in the Nigerian maritime industry, CEOs of government and private organisations, Security agencies, terminal operators, freight forwarders among others.