Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh has again reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the Nigerian maritime industry reaches its full potentials.
According to him, the Nigerian maritime industry has the potential to contribute over $1.6 trillion annually to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is far bigger than what the oil & gas industry is currently contributing to the Nigerian economy.
Dr Jamoh told CNBC in an interview that he wants to see the “Nigerian economy blue”, an indication that he wants to see the Nigerian economy boosted by the nation’s untapped wealth in the maritime industry.
The Director General said: “I want to see Nigeria blue. What is blue? You see, when Shagari came he did Operation Feed the Nation, and then Obasanjo followed up with Green Revolution. Now we want to go for the Blue Economy. Without water, no green. When you don’t have blue, you can’t have green; you can’t get food without blue. So I want to see Nigeria blue.
“We are struggling and fighting to extract and export oil, and today, the international community buying the oil which is the mainstay of our economy is saying no, we need to look for an alternative source. Some countries are going for gas; some renewable energy, solar; while it is electric cars for some.
“What this means is that in the next 10 years, we will wake up one day and people will not patronise our oil anymore.
“Before the oil, we relied on green, that is agriculture. We have cotton, cocoa, rubber, etc that we sell in the international market and lived comfortably. It was that money we used in extracting oil. With money gotten from green, we funded the cost and research for oil; we did not borrow.
“Now, since the international community is moving away from oil, we have two alternative sources; green and blue. So I want to see Nigeria blue with the blue economy.
“I want to see the development and sustainability of the blue economy before I leave office. I want to see the blue economy sustaining Nigeria; even if we have oil, let it be the mainstay of our economy. So that is what we are working towards, an alternative source of revenue and development of our economy,” he stressed
Dr Jamoh further disclosed that his management is developing a policy and strategy for the country to make use of this blue economy. “I want to see Nigeria blue.”
Recall that before the appointment of Dr Jamoh as the NIMASA DG, the very negative narrative of criminalities and armed robbery in Nigeria’s waters and Gulf of Guinea (GoG) became a very deadly monster; thus giving the region the unenviable status as the global epicenter of sea piracy.
However, the coming of Dr Jamoh became the game changer as his innovative policies, engagement with stakeholders and the littoral states and of course with support of the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi set the pace for the operationalisation of the Deep Blue Project and deployment of the Integrated Security and Waterways Protection security assets to strategic locations within the Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Creeks and Waterways on February, 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on Thursday, June 10, in Lagos performed the official launching of the assets.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its Q2 2021 report had disclosed that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, fell to the lowest since Q2 2019.
Also, the global maritime watchdog in its Q3 report released on Thursday disclosed that piracy is fast disappearing in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea as while only four pirate attacks were recorded in the Nigerian waters from January to September, only 28 was recorded in the entire Gulf of Guinea,
Recall also that it was on this positive note of the emerging security of vessels and crew in the Nigerian maritime domain that Dr Jamoh launched the campaign to get the world maritime fraternity to remove the War Risk Zone tag on Nigeria and the imposition of War Risk Insurance Cover on vessels destined to the Nigerian ports.
While that is on, he launched the national wrecks removal exercise with the first phase along Badagry creeks from Tin-can Island to Navy town, geared towards making Nigeria’s waterways safer and navigable for vessels.
It is expected that with security restored and safety for navigation assured, investments (foreign and local) which has eluded the Nigerian maritime sector for many years will start coming in and Dr Jomoh’s vision of creating the right atmosphere for the Nigerian maritime industry to reach its potentials not just to be the second largest revenue earner for the country but that the sector should in no distant time take over from oil & gas as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, in revenue (particularly foreign exchange) generation and also job creation will be realised.