July 23, 2024

Oredola Adeola

Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the blue economy has the capacity to unlock a huge quantum of electricity that can be generated through investment in wind and hydropower plants across the country.

Jamoh made these recommendations during a chat with Energy Day on the sideline of the 6th Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) which ended on Thursday, in Abuja.

According to him, global business trends have shown that all the oil and gas, power, and other critical sectors of every economy depend solely on the blue economy.

Energy Day gathered that the blue economy initiative is promoted by the Director General of NIMASA with a view to creating a viable and sustainable revenue source for Nigeria to reduce its over-reliance on crude oil revenue which has been the mainstay of the economy.

He noted that the blue economy will deepen investment in green energy sources through the production of electricity from wind and hydro plants.

Dr. Jamoh said, “As Nigeria moves on with energy transition, we need a mix of energy sources including hydro and winds all of which are components of the blue sea.

“We need to harness these huge potentials by addressing energy poverty and providing greater access to alternative energy sources.

Speaking about the relevance of the blue economy to the oil and gas sector. the NIMASA DG said the sector thrives on the offshore and onshore activities,

He said, “The oil and gas industry relies on the maritime domain to complete end-to-end transactions.

The DG further noted that the level of success that has been achieved since 2021 when the Deep Blue Project, an Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure was inaugurated, can only be consolidated by the blue economy.

He said, “What this means is that Nigeria should urgently explore the plethora of economic potentials that exist within the country’s internal waters, including the Atlantic Ocean, rivers, lakes, creeks, and even swamps, accessible by every Nigerian.

The NIMASA DG affirmed that the Blue Economy is a system that is going to involve more Nigerians – as individuals, communities, local government areas, states, and everyone irrespective of tribal affiliation.

Highlighting the amount of revenue that Nigeria could earn from implementing the blue economy, the NIMASA DG said that the value of the blue economy is over $2.5 trillion.

According to him, the market analysis showed that the blue economy generates about $24tr revenue globally, how much of this volume of earnings can Nigeria get?

“What is needed at the moment is an enabling law, operational environment, and the buy-in of the people through proper orientation.

“We have to develop a knowledge base that will give flesh to all the concepts of the blue economy. We have to be deliberate in the removal of the barriers like sea blindness, including the right education about eradicating illegal unreported, and unregulated fishing activities in our sea.

“The foreign nationals who have been illegally fishing within our territorial waters must be checked. Nigerians must be fully involved in the activities by not only fishing only for their family but to go into the industrial fishing business for exportation,

“About 350 million job opportunities can be created worldwide through the blue economy that is only within the fishing industry.

“Under the shipping industry and the ferry industry, you create a kind of ferry service that can move people from one location to the other for weekend picnics and other leisure services.

“For instance, NIMASA has purchased about four passenger ferries, now in my Kirikiri office, waiting to be launched in May to transport our staff from work to other locations to each the road transportation stress.

“The entire gamut of the blue economy consists of the seven largest economies in the world, including the United Kingdom, Brazil, and others.

“To build a blue economy, the Nigerian Government must accept to see Nigeria blue. We need to be deliberate about ascertaining Nigeria’s share of the global earnings. We have to structure our policies, enabling the environment for the economy to be harnessed.

“This can’t be achieved alone by the government, the private sector have critical role to play in the investors with massive investment in the ships.

“We need to guarantee adequate security to encourage the hospitality, leisure, and catering industry players to join the framework.

“Government must also provide the right infrastructure, that permits the building of ships and fleet expansion. We have to create finances for Nigerians to acquire ships and our own Cabotage space.

“The access to funds must be there for us to create the enabling environment for Nigerians to purchase and build ships.

“The international community must also recognize Nigeria as a maritime nation.

“Apart from that tonnage, we need to hire the right personnel and workers, including competent seafarers to operate within the value chain.

“It is the duty of NIMASA now to see how they can revive, so apart from manning, ownership building, and the ship-building industry we must improve on it

The NIMASA boss further insisted that good governance is also fundamental to the full implementation of blue energy adding that this would pave the way for regular policy intervention.

He also stated that Nigerians would then have to earmark a certain amount of revenue that would be generated annually out of the $24tr global revenue from the blue economy.

He said, “For instance, if our target is $5tr and anything that’s acting as a stumbling block against the attainment of this target will be addressed by the policy statement of the government,”

He however noted that the policy direction would serve as an intervention to protect the interest of all the stakeholders