- As League opens new secretariat
As part of activities to mark the inauguration of the League of Maritime Editors’ (LOME) new secretariat in Lagos, on Thursday, key stakeholders in the maritime sector highlighted new measures for the advancement of the nation’s maritime sector at a roundtable meeting organized by the association.
The issues outlined by veteran maritime players were targeted at ensuring that the blue economy contributes tremendously to the development of the Nigerian society.
During the roundtable, titled, “How to Achieve the Benefits of the Blue Economy’’, which the League Patron, Prince Shittu who was the Chairman, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), represented by the Agency’s Director of External Affairs, Chief Isichei Osamgbi, said that the blue economy is already operational, but required the proper identification of comparative advantages.
He challenged industry players and operators to see themselves as co-drivers in the journey towards the success of the blue economy, stressing that without this, the success story of the blue economy cannot be complete.
Jamoh, disclosed that, whereas the blue economy in Nigeria is still unfolding, it is at the stage where a collaboration of efforts, must concentrate at optimizing the comparative advantages in order to remain competitive in the global space.
The NIMASA boss said the country must tell herself the truth that the blue economy holds the front row potential in resource growth and as a leading revenue projection and hence should be accorded the right attention to drive its explorations.
“Today we are no longer talking about benefits of the blue economy, we have passed that conception stage, current discussions should be how to tap into the various strata, the unfolding of the separate gold mines as already enshrined in the NIMASA Act.”
“We need to do more collectively to improve on our individual spheres of contribution and achieve a sustainable template that will create beneficial impact. For us, the effort to strengthen maritime security and achieve maritime safety, grow shipping development, marine tourism and cruise transportation are key considerations we keep expanding.”
“We must be determined and focused, we are not the first to have maritime security challenges, Singapore’s niche market is blue economy, we must have the political and operational will to tackle insecurity as top of the identified monster,” he said.
According to him, there is also a need to set the agenda for a functional blue economy, thus he commended the League of Maritime Editors for holding the seminar even as he tipped the maritime domain to be the biggest prospect for achieving the required GDP growth for the nation.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko represented by the Tin Can Island Port Manager, Jibril Buba, advocated enhanced capacities through deliberate policy and stakeholders actions necessary to drive the processes.
While applauding LOME for providing the arena to brainstorm on the dynamics of the blue economy, Bello-Koko said the Authority has for a long time already prepared the grounds for its takeoff and consistent with the full realization is always providing the enabling environment through which the required efficiencies, competences and capacities can be developed and sustained.
His words: ‘’You all know our mandate efficiency in cargo handling is what will make the industry move forward. “but whatever we come up with in as far as we do not change our behaviour, we do not change the way we do things, our overlapping functions, then the blue economy will not find its footing.”
“By 2006 we were partnering, we followed the pattern of the remaining people of the world and came up with what we now have as a landlord model. Now we now have the machinery. There is no berth that does not have mobile harbor cranes, some of them have up to eleven, some up to twelve, some more than that. They have the mobile harbour crane, have enough gantry cranes in the terminals”
“Now, when we had the time that vessels used to come to this country and they spend up to 40 days,that is pre- concession of the terminals. Now it is 72 hours in case of container vessels and in case of bulk cargo at ENL and the rest, ten days. We’ve achieved 0% waiting time.”
Bello-Koko also identified the fishing sub sector as an advantageous resource area that can grow the blue economy substantially.
He opined that if the government can deliberately, or the stakeholders can deliberately form a sort of consortium and then come up with a bigger fishing industry, the industry will progress from the current state of fragmentations.
Nevertheless, he expressed delight that the new LOME secretariat will serve as a hub for collaboration, information exchange, and the development of best practices.
In his contribution, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Hon Emmanuel Jime represented by the Council’s Director Consumer Affairs Department, Chief Cajetan Agu, described blue economy, as having huge economic potentials that should be harnessed by all.
Describing Nigeria as a blessed country in terms of the abundance of Blue Economy, the NSC CEO said what is needed is to harness the potential of the blue economy. Jime pointed out that the opportunities embedded in blue economy were so much that it has become the project of the entire African Union (AU).
The NSC boss identified the potential of blue economy as shipping, fisheries, underwater mining, cruise transportation, tourism, among others. He said that realizing these potentials, the AU, sees blue economy as a project which no country will do alone because of the issue of security.
Jime stated that the criminals move around in different territorial waters, and as such the blue economy needs to be implemented together. He disclosed that the AU has developed a model on blue economy after studying the potential, adding that for the body, it is the rebirth of African renaissance.
He, however, acknowledged that Nigeria through NIMASA has been able to reduce drastically the issue of piracy in her territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
Before League’s Patron cut the tape to inaugurate the Secretariat, the NIMASA DG, NPA MD, and the Shippers’ Council CEO, had identified the various benefits that would accrue to the League from having its own secretariat and encouraged the members of the Association to tap into those benefits.
Shittu, particularly charged the League to consider building its own secretariat being senior practitioners and appealed to industry stakeholders to support the initiative whenever it comes on stream.
“I am very delighted to be part of this epoch making event, some of you l have known over the years, two, three decades, I remember those days while serving under Alhaji Sanni Kamba in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and l was the National Publicity Secretary. Eventhough l was based in Port Harcourt, l was always coming around for meetings and briefings, so all along l have been part of you.”
“I foresee a future where we will be moving out of this apartment and going to our own property. Despite their moderate critical reporting as senior practitioners, l think that it is good for the industry. But generally, people should also be able to criticize certain reports, especially misleading reports. One of the mistakes we make is that we read stories and forget to read the commentaries or push out reactions,” he said.
Earlier, in his speech, the President of the League, Chief Timothy Okorocha had told the guests that the Monthly Roundtable Parley of the Association, which was on hold is now back.
He assured that the League would be providing the missing nexus in the industry, with regards to developmental journalism and the essential advocacy that nations depend upon to nurture their peculiar circumstances and to build their capacities.