The Nigerian maritime industry with potential of over $2.1 billion annual revenue is yet to be fully harnessed by the government, due to some policy inconsistency, experts have said.
Rising from a one-day maritime conference in Lagos on Thursday with the theme: ‘Africa’s Maritime Capital: Nigeria and Her Potential’, speakers held the view that the quickest means of Nigeria coming off early from its present economic recession is for it to tap into the huge opportunities in the maritime sector, as against its current emphasis on oil.
For them, Nigeria has all it takes to be the maritime hub of ECOWAS, given its vast sea ports.
Commenting on this, managing director, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi, said the operators in the industry had shown capacity in making a difference in view of the mounting challenges they face.
According to her, massive investment in the industry by private operators was one of the key game-changing strategies to take full advantage of the industry’s abundant opportunities, citing how her firm had invested more than $100 million in the industry despite challenges.
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In his submission, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi the Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, another operator, called on the federal government to draw from the yet-to-be-tapped resources from the sector, if it wants to end the present economic downturn earlier than is being projected.
“Diligent and sustained exploitation of the vast resource endowments of this sector may prove to be that of a low-hanging fruit, but Nigeria needs a time such as we are in today to turn things around”, she said.
To maximally tap potentials in the industry for economic benefits, other speakers challenged government to create conducive investment environment by amendment of some old maritime laws and provide the needed infrastructural base for modern maritime growth.
They also stated that one of the ways of promoting the sector is to sustain the idea of having Martine University sited in the Niger Delta region to survive.
By Emma Eke….
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