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Nigeria advances national policy on marine and blue economy, aiming for $2.7bn boost

Stakeholders Meet in Lagos as Government Pledges Strategic Development Initiatives for Maritime Sector

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In a bid to harness the vast potential of its marine and blue economy, the Federal Government has intensified efforts towards crafting a comprehensive national policy, with projections indicating a significant $2.7bn contribution to the country’s economic landscape.

Revealing this milestone at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos, Babatunde Bombata, Director of the Maritime Safety and Security Department in the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, underscored the pivotal role of the envisioned policy in catalyzing growth across the shipping sub-sector while fortifying trade facilitation.

“The development of the policy would provide a comprehensive framework/blueprint to deliver the expected over $2.7bn contributions of the marine and blue economic sector to the national economy and tackle revenue leakages, through the envisaged streamlined approach to the management of the sector,” Bombata elucidated.

Integral to this strategic blueprint is the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), an intervention mechanism poised to bolster indigenous shipping capacity. Bombata reiterated the ministry’s commitment to facilitating improved access to the fund through the formulation of clear guidelines and mechanisms.

“The fund would allow indigenous shipowners to fund the acquisition of more vessels at a single-digit interest rate, fostering healthy competition with foreign shipping companies and amplifying employment opportunities within the maritime sector,” he emphasized.

Furthermore, plans for the establishment of the Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB) are rapidly progressing, with Nigeria poised to host the bank’s headquarters. Envisioned as a private-public sector-driven institution, the RMDB aims to catalyze port infrastructure development, vessel acquisition, and human capacity enhancement across member states.

“The bank’s establishment process is ongoing and an office space has been provided for the bank at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency’s Abuja office. Its establishment would increase access to funding for the acquisition, construction and repairs of vessels by indigenous shipowners,” Bombata elaborated.

In a bid to enhance safety and efficiency in Nigerian waters, collaborations with agencies like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) are underway to provide accurate sea weather forecasts, aiding navigation and bolstering operational effectiveness for seafarers.

Amid these strategic endeavors, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola, highlighted discussions with the Chief of Naval Staff regarding the Deep Blue Project, signaling a concerted drive towards bolstering maritime security and amplifying the sector’s impact on Nigeria’s developmental agenda.

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