The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, has disclosed that the ministry is considering establishing a National Shipping line to enhance economic activities in the marine and blue economy sector.
Speaking at the 2023 Investment Summit and Expo in Abuja, the minister, represented by his technical aide, Prof. Busayo Fakinlede, stated that the government aims to achieve this through a strategic Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The minister emphasized that this initiative aims to secure a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market within the country.
Oyetola explained, “It is important to note that this initiative will not seek to impede the growth of local players but rather to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs.
“We will support indigenous ship owners through the Cabotage Fund to acquire more vessels. This would enable our local businesses to better leverage the Cabotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control locally-generated seaborne trade.”
The minister highlighted that the ministry is exploring new avenues and measures to boost sectoral growth by strategically balancing the fortification of existing strengths within the marine and blue economy.
“As we work towards completing key port projects like Ibom, Badagry, Ondo, Snake Island, Bonny, Burutu Sea Ports, the Funtua Dry Port, Lokoja River Port, and Jos Inland Dry Port, we anticipate the creation of new economic hubs, increased employment opportunities, and improved goods movement, all of which will contribute significantly to our nation’s growth and development.
“Our commitment to the development of inland waterways is unwavering. We aim to link all regions of the country through our inland waterways by exploring PPP arrangements that would facilitate the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the inland waterways.”