Dr Dakuku Peterside, Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said the agency was positioned to contribute substantially to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Peterside told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that if the potentials of the sector were optimised, they would lead to the growth of the economy.
“We are looking at the entire gamut of mix that is necessary to unleash our potential in the industry
“All I can say is that going forward, maritime is positioned to contribute substantially to our GDP and by extension the growth of our economy.’’
Peterside said that many countries had optimized advantages of their maritime sub-sector to grow their GDP and it had yielded results and urged Nigeria to replicate same.
“If you look at the economy of the Philippians, seafarers contribute more than 11 per cent to their GDP.
“If you look at Bangladesh, it is called the graveyard of ships, in terms of ship breaking, ship recycling, that small sector in the maritime industry contributes substantially to their economy.
“Now if you look at India, again seafarers contribute substantially to the economy of India, if you look at Korea, ship building contributes to the economy of Korea.
“`If you look at China, the officer cadre that boards vessel or that ply vessels, or that mounts vessels everywhere in the world, most of them are Chinese.
“If you look at Singapore, by simply being a trans-shipment hub, it is the mainstay of the economy of Singapore.
“Singapore has a population of 4 million persons; they have got only one port that can receive 1,000 ships at a time, coming at a time; there is no port like that in Nigeria.
“So if you look at all these countries, they have optimised advantage of one sub-sector or the other in the maritime sector; why can’t we replicate same in Nigeria.’’
Peterside said Nigeria had population, agile and talented young men and women, “we could export around the world and earn as much as they earn from Philippians’’.
He said,“ we have the advantage of location; if you notice, Nigeria is midway between Central Africa and the rest of West Africa.
“We are also a gateway to many land locked countries, Chad, Niger and other land locked countries so we could also serve as a gateway to landlocked countries.
“We are exploring that to serve as a trans-shipment hub for the whole of West and Central Africa as well as land locked neighbours.
“So we are looking at building professional capacity in terms of personnel with human element in shipping; we are looking at serving as trans-shipment hub by reason of the advantage of location.
He said the government intends to look into the exportation and importation of vessels to ensure its optimal usage in the country. (NAN)