The shipping sector in Nigeria can produce 75 per cent of the country’s earnings from the oil sector, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Bashir Jamoh, has said.
He stressed the agency’s drive to develop the blue economy in partnership with littoral states in the country aimed at achieving a diversified economy.
Jamoh, who led a team on a courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, was quoted in a statement as saying, “Shipping is the alternative to oil and the shipping sector in Nigeria can produce three quarters of the nation’s earnings from the oil sector.
“To achieve this, we at NIMASA are engaging the littoral states in Nigeria to develop strategies that would lead to maximising the potential of the sector within the next 10 years when countries are targeting to end the use of fossil fuel.”
He lauded the Edo State government on the Benin River Port project, which he said would be a revenue booster for the state.
He listed Kano, Plateau and Gombe among states that had invested hugely in inland dry port development despite not being littoral states.
According to Obaseki, the Benin River Port project is critical and strategic to Nigeria’s economy, and the state government is willing to partner with NIMASA to bring the project to reality.
He said, “Edo State is a nexus for Nigeria, hence the strategic role the Benin River port would play in the transportation of goods to other parts of the country. You can connect the East and West from Edo within two hours; so, that means in six hours, goods from Apapa in Lagos will be everywhere in the country.
“We are locating this port in a place that is perhaps Nigeria’s largest and richest onshore gas reserve. You can imagine that this energy exists to drive whatever amount of industrialisation that needs to be.”
According to the NIMASA boss, the Benin River Port project is a testament that Edo understands the benefits of shipping.
He said the agency was ready to sponsor indigenes of the state, below 25 years of age, to Greece on fully-funded scholarship to study maritime-related courses.