The Federal Government is working towards the re-establishment of a National Shipping Line through a strategic Public Private Partnership arrangement, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola has said.
The minister also noted that the government has created a roadmap towards a sustainable blue economy.
Speaking in Lagos on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ roundtable engagement on advancing sustainable development in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, Oyetola explained that the roadmap will advance the industry’s potential, promote sustainable blue economy investments, and ensure global competitiveness within the sector.
He said, “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 as Strengthening 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 to 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.
“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. We must 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 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 a 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.
“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 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.