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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has sought wider participation of relevant stakeholders in the blue economy project to deepen the participation and benefits of Nigerians from the country’s marine resources.
Making the call at the inaugural meeting of an expanded committee on sustainable blue economy in Nigeria at the presidential villa yesterday, the vice president said that “a viable blue economy project will offer a view of opportunities not only for the littoral states where there are bodies of water, but for the whole country”.
He identified the areas to be exploited to include ports, terminals, fisheries, training, environment, tourism, electricity, oil and gas.
While identifying possible sustainability challenges, the VP urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to strengthen their collaborations in an atmosphere of interdepartmental working groups and advised all members to faithfully attend meetings for maximum results.
Osinbajo, who officially inaugurated the expanded committee, identified the need for a legal framework that will be stronger than other international blue economy maritime conventions, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
He said the scope and participation of the committee will be further enhanced to accommodate more members from government agencies and relevant private sector actors.
“There is no doubt that the blue economy is a new frontier for economic development and a way to diversify the economy through the use of the resources of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the well-being populations.
“It also makes a positive contribution to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2052 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2052AIM) and the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
“This concept of economic diversification is promoted by the international community and provides friendly livelihoods in line with this administration’s job creation agenda,” he said.
He added that “the ocean economy as an emerging economic frontier applies to ocean-based industrial activities and marine ecosystem assets, goods and services.
“Countries need to define the scope of their blue economy according to their priorities. For example, in Bangladesh, the ocean economy consists of the following large and growing economic sectors; living resources, minerals, energy, transport, trade, tourism and recreation, carbon sequestration and coastal protection.
“These industries and ecosystem services do not develop in isolation, but rather interact as an economic ecosystem,” the vice president said.
Earlier in his remarks, Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said that the blue economy has the potential to improve government revenue, create jobs and increase Nigeria’s gross domestic product.
Amaechi, who was represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, also expressed optimism about the benefits that can come from a well-harnessed marine environment.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General of the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) hailed the initiative of the expansion while recommending the inclusion from financial institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), as well as key financial institutions that will contribute significantly to the achievement of Nigeria’s blue economy goal.
Apart from maritime agencies such as the Nigeria Ports Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, the expanded committee also includes ten state governors.
They are the governors of Rivers, Lagos, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Ogun, Ondo, Cross River, Bayelsa and Edo states.
The other members are the ministers of foreign affairs, energy, finance, environment, trade and investment, agriculture and water resources, the chief of staff of the Navy, Comptroller General of Customs, Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, etc.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos