Business

Maritime: FG’s N7trn revenue target doubtful

Plans by the Federal Government to realise an estimated N7 trillion revenue from the maritime industry annually is being constrained by a myriad of challenges. Also, the projected five million jobs envisaged in the industry within four years is uncertain.

 

According to a report by the National Economy Summit (NES), the increasing threat of illegal activities in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) has led to massive loss of value in fisheries, conservatively estimated at $10 billion annually.

 

Currently, activities that are undertaken in the ocean include fisheries and aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, seabed mining, offshore energy wind farms, ship chandling, shipping and marine transportation, marine tourism, and marine construction, seafood processing, marine biotechnology, shipbuilding and repair, port construction, communication, maritime law and insurance.

 

However, the NES report said that there had been increasing menace of illegal activities in the EEZs, while governance of the blue economy proves ineffective. In the wake of the recent ratification of the Africa Continental Trade Agreement (AfCTA) by the Federal Government, the report said that relevant stakeholders convened to brainstorm and commit resources to establish and implement a unified approach to building a resilient blue economy ecosystem for economic activities centred on trade and actions around Nigeria’s large bodies of water.

 

However, the report noted that the absence of a strategic maritime economic blueprint, flawed institutional framework, lack of national fleet, insecurity and lack of data were the bane of the maritime economy.

 

It added that there was ineffective regulation and coordination among the different stakeholders to ensure sustainable management of marine and coastal  resources in the country’s waters.

 

The report added: “The dumping of toxic waste, the indiscriminate discarding of single-use plastics, and oil spillage have worsened pollution in the West African coastlines. This has further limited coastal tourism and real estate opportunities around the coastlines as West Africa, which is ranked low under the ‘blue flag’ international certification.

 

“With a maritime area of up to 84,000 nautical miles (nm) made up of a coastline of 420nm alongside an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200nm, Nigeria has the potential to harness the investment opportunities in the Blue Economy. “Government mobilised players in the Maritime Sector to optimise Africa’s Blue Economy potential and support new growth for Africa’s coastal economies. “However, Nigeria has been unable to realise the blue economy benefits.”

 

The report stressed that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had exacerbated the issues constraining the development of the maritime sector, saying that social distancing measures had negatively affected marine transport,   leading to fewer goods being conveyed through ports.

 

Speaking with New Telegraph, the President of Association of Chandlers and Ship Suppliers of Nigeria (ACSSN), Mr Vickson Aghanenu, explained that for Nigeria to exploit its maritime resources to the fullest, it must have capacity to protect its marine environment from illegal extraction of marine resources, pollution, physical alteration and destruction of marine habitat, pollution, ocean acidification and climate change impacts.

 

He added that the relevant authorities must engage in consistent ocean system monitoring and research, collect correct and up to date data on the country’s maritime systems and draw up comprehensive marine policies. Aghanenu noted that maritime operators now faced rising cost of ransom payments and insurance premiums for high risk areas.

 

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