Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria has advised the federal government to integrate blue economy into the nation’s development strategy.
The President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke made this call while speaking on the prospects of the new ministry of Marine and Blue Economy on a programme on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), this week.
According to the WISTA President, ocean and the waterways resources plans must be incorporated into the Nigerian national developmental strategy.
She equally harped on the need for a cohesive deliberate, strategic and sustainable development plan to map out the headway in order to optimize the potential at all levels of the spectrum.
“Attention must be given to research and technology development. There must be effective regulation of the Blue Economic activities. There is also a need for appropriate legal framework.”
“More attention must be directed to our inland waterway for constant dredging to develop coastal shipping for agricultural goods for export. This will reduce the risk and cost of road transportation. There is also a dire need to build a reliable database,” Ezeoke remarked.
She asserted that the new ministry highlights a new frontier for national economic development with Nigeria’s vast coastline of 853km and 200 nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“Nigeria’s coastline is almost one-third of the nation’s landmass. The ocean contribute an estimated $300billion to the African economy and supports over 49 million jobs. Nigeria must key into this big time,” she said.
Ezeoke, who retired from Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as a General Manager, argued that the new ministry is a commendable development and one in the right direction.
“It has given exposure to the non-oil sector of the economy for growth, expansion and will definitely highlight the many benefits accruable from the ocean resources, rivers, lakes and the waterways,” she opined.
She, however, stressed that the nation’s shipping approach must be sustainable with the use of the ocean resources for economic growth and well-being.