- Group Managing Director, Sky Capital & Financial Allied Limited, Bode Ojeniyi (left), Director, Internal Audit, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mrs. Olamide Odusanya, and keynote speaker and former Director- General of NIMASA, Temisan Omatseye, at the fifth Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) Conference in Lagos…last weekend
- ‘Refocus sub-sector to surpass nation’s crude oil fortunes‘
By Anthony Nwachukwu
With the steady decline in Nigeria’s crude oil revenue while abundant economic fortunes remain untapped in the maritime sector, the Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, has urged the Federal Government to unlock the sector’s revenue potentials with increased investment.
Afolabi, in his keynote address at the fifth Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) Conference in Lagos, titled, “The Maritime Roadmap Project: Making Nigeria a Leading Maritime Nation in the World,” said such investments would enable the sector contribute substantially to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Represented by the Group Managing Director of Sky Capital Group, Mr. Bode Ojeniyi, Afolabi lamented that the sector was still “grappling with infrastructural deficit, foreign exchange bottlenecks, insecurity on waterways, low level of technology adoption and deployment, as well as inconsistent policies, among others.”
According to him, these have largely limited the sector’s ability for significant contribution to the GDP. However, if well harnessed, “the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.”
Noting that the country has recently been funding its annual budget mainly from other sectors, he urged a transition from its over-reliance on oil, while assuring that the maritime sector will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if paid more attention.
He described the theme of the conference as “ambitious,” with the focus beyond positioning the maritime sector in Africa, adding that by its potentials, Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank best in the world.
However, this is possible only with “careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development, and massive investment in infrastructural development.”
Meanwhile, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the conference theme captured contemporary issues within Nigeria’s maritime domain and the international shipping industry, with focus on current and future potential of the economic sub-sector.
In his address, Jamoh, who was represented by the NIMASA Director, Internal Audit, Mrs. Olamide Odusanya, said the agency bears responsibility for safety of human lives, ships and cargo at sea, as well as the development of indigenous shipping capacity for domestic and international sea-borne commerce.
This conference, therefore, provides us with a unique opportunity to discuss the strategies, policies and practices which cumulatively represent the roadmap designed to convey us to the status of a leading maritime nation.
About “Maritime Roadmap Project” as an aspect of the theme, he said the universally accepted criteria for evaluating the status of an individual country in the comity of maritime nations include “capacity in terms of shipbuilding and repairs.”
Others are “depth of its financial markets and banking system, existence of fiscal and monetary incentives, availability of institutions for the training/certification of seafarers, and general sea consciousness/cultural affinity, among others.”
Nevertheless, “our position as a regional leader remains unassailable, whether in terms of volume of trade, accession to key maritime convention or the development of in-country capacity of unparalleled significance in Africa.”
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