By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has stated that for Nigeria to successfully diversify its economy there is need to advance the nation’s maritime interest, being a sector capable of taking over from oil as the country’s leading revenue earner in the nearest future.
The DG who made this assertion recently at the 5th Nigeria Transport Awards and Lecture at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, said that the benefits of the oil and gas sector and other vibrant economic impacting sectors cannot be reaped without shipping, as the sector provides the wheel upon which trade thrives.
Dr. Peterside who was represented at the event by the Agency’s Director of Administration and Human Resources, Mr. Akin Akinyosoye said that the Maritime sector is of critical significance to the Nigerian economy, particularly, given that the nation is endowed with a vast coastline as well as navigable inland waterways adding that Nigeria is strategically placed on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa.
In his words, “Shipping is essential to the proper operation of any country’s economy and a vital part of a nation’s transport infrastructure, it is no gain saying that a Nation such as ours blessed with about 853km coastline and 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone apart from the abundance of mineral resources that are domiciled in every nook and cranny of our country needs to be harnessed through shipping to create a positive economic impact” the DG said
The NIMASA DG intimated that the Agency is working assiduously to ensure that the country’s maritime domain is safe and secure for shipping activities, hence the Agency is leading the charge in coordinating other African Nations to tap into maritime opportunities across the continent. This was evident at the just concluded hosting of the Association of African Heads of Maritime Administrations (AAMA) by NIMASA in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
According to the DG, “Our hosting of the AAMA Conference is to ensure we become a leading voice in Africa’s maritime sector advancing Nigeria’s global maritime goals. We intend to coordinate the sector and make it devoid of piracy and other crimes at sea”, The DG said.
Dr. Peterside, urged stakeholders to participate actively in ensuring the nation’s maritime sector remains virile adding that the Agency is committed to ensuring a safer maritime domain.
It would be recalled that Dr. Dakuku Peterside was recently elected as the new Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA) at the just concluded third conference of the association by 34 African countries which held in Abuja, Nigeria.