23rd September, 2011
The Nigerian maritime industry has been identified as the key to the attainment of the nationâ€™s dream of becoming one of the worldâ€™s 20 top economies by the year 2020.
In his address at a one-day Media Capacity Building Workshop on Shipping Development organised by the Maritime Reportersâ€™ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) recently, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, said that apart from the nationâ€™s maritime industry helping in the attainment of the vision, the sector will also play a major role in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Umar, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hajiya Lami Tumaka, said the nation’s economy should be diversified.
â€œAs you are aware, to achieve our objective of vision 20:2020, the Nigerian economy must of necessity be diversified.
With a coastline of over 800km, potential for employment generation and wealth creation, the maritime sector which embodies shipping activities is capable of providing the desired push towards meet â€œThe Federal Ministry of Transport and its parastatals in the maritime sector have put the issue of developing shipping activities in the country on the front burner and we are committed to tackling the malaise that has bedevilled the sector,” he said.
It must be noted that more than 90 percent of both in-bound and out-bound cargo in Nigeria are executed through shipping, making the sector too important to the growth of the economy to be neglected,â€ Umar said. General Secretary of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Captain Niyi Labinjo, while delivering a paper on Challenges of Indigenous Shipowners in Nigeria, on behalf of the chairman of ISAN, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, lamented that Nigeria has not fully tapped the potential of the maritime industry due to the low understanding on the part of those saddled with the administration of the industry over the years.
He said the government’s lack of thorough knowledge of the industry is responsible for the poor state of the sector. President of MARAN, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, in his welcome address, described Nigeria as having huge maritime potential, which, according to him, can be harnessed through a deliberate human capacity building.
He added that proper development of Nigeriaâ€™s shipping potential will yield huge revenue for the country.
â€œNigeria has opportunity to develop its cadres of seafarers and opportunities to develop a maritime fleet. We have the potential by the size of our export trade through agricultural produce, minerals, oil and gas to develop a huge export trade that will translate into building fleets of vessels and lead to the establishment of shipyards to support the demand for tonnage,â€ Ajayi said. ing these objectives.