The Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy; Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, has stated that tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, harnessing marine tourism, safety and security are top of the agenda of his administration as Minister of the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue economy.
He stated this during a working visit to NIMASA headquarters in Lagos, where he met with the Top Management staff of the Agency. The Minister said the time has come for Nigeria to fully harness its vast potentials in the maritime sector, noting that the working visit was to ascertain and properly appraise the situation of things with a view of taking practical steps and measures towards addressing them.
In his words, “Today, we have come to see some of the things you told us in Abuja and to properly appraise the situation of things with a view to taking practical steps towards addressing them. I am particularly interested in the NIMASA Modular Floating Dock because of its potential to generate employment and stemmed capital flight. But we must find a way of ensuring stakeholders’ buy-in, in whatever we do so that we are seen to be working together for the growth and development of Nigeria”.
Speaking further, the Minister noted that it was time for Nigeria to float a National Carrier, stressing that through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement, and the support of stakeholders, such a plan would be achieved in the interest of the maritime industry and Nigeria as a whole.
The Minister averred that management of the resources of Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy entailed proactive, smart and strategic thinking. He called for the rediscovery, harnessing and packaging of the nation’s maritime resources, including seafoods, in line with all associated international standards and specifications.
The Minister, who bemoaned foreign dominance of the fishing industry, assured that under his watch it will no longer be business as usual.
In his words “According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the fisheries sector contributed 1.09% of the country’s total GDP in the year 2020 and 0.9% in the Q3 of 2021. We are regarded as a net importer of fishery products. But we are determined to change the narrative by putting in place measures to make Nigeria a major player in that regard”.
The Minister commended the Management of NIMASA under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Jamoh for his grit and determination in ensuring that the Agency fulfils its mandates. He noted that he had full confidence in the capabilities and dedication of the Agency’s management, and stated that he looked forward to witnessing the continued success of NIMASA in shaping the future of the country’s maritime sector, reiterating that together, a thriving marine and blue economy that benefits everyone can be actualised.
Jamoh, in his opening remarks, had welcomed the Minister to the Agency, declaring that his appointment was unique and timely. The DG noted that the uniqueness of the Minister’s appointment was based on the industry and stakeholders’ clamour for independence, and the magnanimity of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, showed that the President was a listening leader.
During the visit, he also inspected the NIMASA Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and intelligence, C4i centre, NIMASA e-library, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio room, Marine Environment Management Laboratory, the newly acquired NIMASA headquarters, Search and Rescue Base Clinic and the NIMASA Skill Acquisition Centre in Apapa.