NIMASA: Development Of Viable Policies For $2.5 Trillion Nigerian Blue Economy Brightens As Prof. Gunter Pauli Steps In  

By Stephen Ubanna

Between 2020 and now, Bashir Jamoh, OFR, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who has championed the blue economy model and how it can be developed in the country has looked forward to a time to meet Gunter Pauli, a Prof. of Economics and author of the book The Blue Economy: 10 years,100 Innovations, 100 million jobs published in 2010, to further expose him to the economic model.

The renowned Economist   and entrepreneur   who had defined the blue economy model as ‘’the regeneration of the ecosystems in logic of abundance and economy and drawing inspiration from nature in order to take what is necessary and to function in symbiosis with it was said to have assisted the Asian country of China and maritime nations to develop their blue economy.

Oyetola , Minister Of Marine & Blue Economy In A Warm Handshake With Prof. Puali

The erudite Professor who was said to have made several countries that have started implementing the blue economy model which is business of exploiting resources through fishing, producing energy, engaging in maritime transport and tourism’’ in the bodies of water or on the coast had said that ‘’it would reduce the harm to the environment and become sustainable if properly developed’’.

Prof. Pauli, who was said to have given an insight into the blue economy model had said that it includes in the following sectors: Fishery and Aquaculture, Marine Transportation, Shipping /Ports, coastal tourism and Cruise ship industry, Marine Biotechnology and Water desalination. This is in addition to Deep Sea Mining, Offshore Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy, Ship and Boat Building, Maritime Construction, Defense and Security as well as Research and Education.

Although, Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, had not met Prof. Pauli, one-on-one ”to discuss on the blue economy, and how to go about its development in the Nigerian economy, before now,he had said the agency reopened the Lokoja, Capital of Kogi state, office to be used in harnessing the country’s blue economy, in collaboration with other maritime agencies while also promoting Research and Development.

He was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen based on what he has read and known about the blue economy  and its implementation in some maritime  nations and the gains the country are making may have encouraged the agency to invest in research   that would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of the country’s maritime potentials and maximizing  the use  of available resources  in the nation’s  Inland water ways  and the deep waters  within the 28 states  of the Federation .

According to him, the country’s deep waterways spanning over 400 Kilometres and over 200 nautical miles of ocean resources, with the support.  He had said that the country would benefit immensely from the activities associated with the blue economy model which had come to stay with the establishment of the ministry of marine and blue economy which currently has Adegboyega Oyetola, a former governor of Osun state as the pioneer minister.

Prof Gunter Pauli, In A Meeting wITH Ministry Of Marine & Blue Economy& Agency Officials

The Commonwealth Action Group on Sustainable Blue economy    which had taken a cue from Prof. Pauli, blue economy model    had recalled that  ‘’in the old  business of as usual  model, nations  develop their  ocean  economics through the exploitation of maritime  and marine resources, notably by shipping,  commercial shipping, , oil and gas  and mineral development.

The Commonwealth Group believes that they may have been doing this without paying adequate attention to the effect of these activities on the future health or productivity of same resources and the ocean ecosystems which they exist.  The Group had described the blue economy model as a holistic vision of Prof. Puli that embraces economic growth, when it is sustainable and does not damage other sectors.

The Group noted that the worldwide ocean economy is valued at about the North American country of the United States, US, $1.5 trillion and set to hit the US$3 trillion mark thus making it the seventh largest economy in the world in 20230, The total value of the global ocean assets (natural capital), according maritime analysts has been estimated at US$24 trillion.

The African Union, AU, on its part in a book titled ‘’Africa Blue Economy Strategy, published in 2018, had said  that the Blue Economy model could be a generator of jobs for millions of current and future generations in the African Continent . The AU was said to have based findings on research   had revealed that the blue economy model currently generates US $300 billion in economic activities for the Continent and supporting over 50 million jobs.

Jamoh, DG, NIMASA Discusses With Prof. Pauli, Blue Economy Expert

This may have informed why Jamoh, the Chief Chef Executive Officer, CEO, NIMASA, who believes that Nigeria which  has vast under-utilised ocean resources offers huge opportunities for the country’s economic growth and development to overcome its present economic challenge was very happy to meet Prof. Pauli, the inventor of the “blue economy model in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, last October.

The NIMASA, helmsman who had said that the country has all that it takes to tap into the $2.5 trillion the blue economy had met Prof, Pauli, described as the father of blue economy ‘’to discuss the possibilities in developing the Nigeria’s blue economy.

  Caroline Wuraola Adepoju, Ag. Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, Service, NIS, who has corroborated what the NIMASA boss had said that if the blue economy is fully developed in Nigeria would benefit from the 2.5 trillion under-utilised economy annually.

Given an insider information, Edward Osagie, an Assistant Director and the agency, Head of Public Relations had confirmed that Prof. Pauli, had agreed to interface with stakeholders of the new   ministry to develop viable policies for the smooth take-off the country’s marine and blue economy.

Prof. Pauli, has every reason to assist Nigeria to develop its own blue economy as one who had formulated the global policies around the blue economy in different member countries of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, a United Nation, UN’s Maritime agency to develop their blue economy.

The NIMASA boss who was said to have had the opportunity of meeting the inventor of the blue economy was said to have opened to him as someone that needed ‘’life support ‘’. The duo was said to have discussed   various ways to harness the vast resources in the nation’s water in a sustainable manner.

The Kaduna state technocrat may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that the Professor and Author of the blue economy, which is like a Bible to many maritime nations that had developed their blue economy as he has expressed his willingness to work with the former governor of Osun state led ministry of marine and blue economy ‘’to formulate policies that will ‘’help Nigerians begin to enjoy the gains of the establishment of the new ministry’’.   He was emphatic that the Professor of Economics is willing to assist the Nigerian government to develop policies around the country’s blue economy for the good of the people.

Given the efforts that had been made by President Bola Ahmed in the recent time to develop the country’s marine and blue economy may have informed why he has encouraged other African Leaders ‘’to prioritise in investing in the blue economy, which he had said ‘’ holds the key to African countries prosperity’’.

The Nigerian President who was represented by Oyetola, the minister of marine and blue economy, at the 43rd Annual Council Meeting  of the Port Managesent   Association of West and Central African  , PMAWCA,  Conference in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, November 6, 2023, hosted by Mohammed Bello-Koko led Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA,  was said to have underlined ‘’the  critical role  of the blue economy  in the collective  prosperity of the African  nations’’.

The Nigerian President who could not hide his feelings had stressed the interconnectedness of the African countries through their maritime endowments even as he highlights the government Commitment to unlocking the potential of the blue economy. He had said that automation is crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of the ports the global maritime industry. The Nigerian President who incidentally was a former Lagos state governor, who believes in the necessity of infusing technology into public sector management to aid transparency and ease business processes had said that the government would the NPA, all the necessary support to fast-track the operationalisation of the Port Community system because of the immense opportunities represented by the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.

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