Maritime: Tasks Before Tunji -Ojo; Jamoh Hails Tinubu Over Creation Of Ministry Of Marine And Blue Economy

By Stephen Ubanna

41-old Olubumi Tunji-Ojo, and Ondo state born politician, and now minister of the newly created ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, has a big task at hand: develop the nation’s marine and blue economy to the level that it will become another major revenue generation source that should take over from oil, in funding the nation’s yearly revenue projections.

 Bashir Jamoh, OFR, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who was said to have given kudos to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the bold initiative and the appointment of Olubumi Tuni -Ojo, as the pioneer minister of the new marine and blue economy ministry had described it as welcome development to the industry stakaholders.

  Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state led Senate were said to have properly grilled Tunji-ojo, before being conformed for ministerial appointment by Tinubu over what he had said some few years ago that he has’’ no passion for Nigeria’’ because of the situation in the country. He may have retracted the statement when he declared that he now has passion for the country as much has changed over the years and ready to work for’’ the progress and development of the country’’.

The creation of the new ministry of marine and blue economy and the appointment of the Ondo state born politician to oversee the new ministry had been hailed as a step in the right direction by Olumide Araoynbo, President, Ondo state Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture, OSCCIMA.

The OSCCIMA, President had said that Tunji-Ojo’s appointment and confirmation by the Senate and subsequent deployment to the new ministry of Marine and Blue Economy which had been at the heart of industry stakeholders over the years bear eloquent testimony of his ‘’Leadership quality’’.  

He may have given industry stakeholders room to expect much from the minister when he said ‘’I have full faith that you will excel in the new ministry of Marine and blue economy and showcase your exceptional abilities and vision for Nigeria’’. He was emphatic that his nomination for the ministerial appointment by the President   is a testament ‘’to his integrity, competence and passion for the development of the country’’.

Many believe that the ministry of Transportation may have been slit technically into two for proper coordination by the appointed ministers. Take for instance, Gboyega Oyetola, the immediate past governor of Osun state and now the minister of Transportation is expected to put all his efforts towards the development of the nation’s Rail transport system to connect the different parts of the country. He was said to have been making consultatins with the ministry and Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, officials since his appointment became public in a  bid to hit the  grounding  just as  Tunji-Ojo, who now oversees the Marine and blue economy, was said to also be making consultations with critical  stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry to draw a roadmap to reposition the industry as a major revenue  source for the government.

Jamoh: DG, NIMASA, Popularised Blue Economy Concept In Nigeria

They noted  that the new minister of Marine and Blue Economy, particular, may not have much difficulty in taking off, because the like of Jamoh, director general of NIMASA, who over the last three years had popularised the concept of the blue economy  in Nigeria is still a key participant in the nation’s maritime industry and other key actors like Mohammed  BelloKoko, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council,  who are still very much  in the system , doing what  they know best, reshaping the nation’s maritime industry  and who are at the becks and call of the minister for possible device on the way forward.  

The NIMASA Chief Executive Officer, CEO, may have spoken the mind of industry operators   when he declared that the creation of ‘’the new ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was long overdue, more importantly to support the diversification of the nation’s economy ‘’.

He noted that ‘’with its creation by the Tinubu’s administration the country is heading to reapping the maximum benefits in maritime administration as obtained in other maritime nations   where the marine and blue economy development are given top priority by the respective countries political Leaders.

Hear him: It will give a massive boost to plans and programmes that the President intends to deploy to achieve the goals in creating the new ministry of marine and blue economy.  The NIMASA, boss, who cold not hide his feelings had told those that cares to listen that ‘’the nation’s maritime industry is large enough as there are new opportunities like development of the blue economy’’ which had remained untapped over the years.

It was not surprising why he had said that with the creation of the new ministry, ‘’it will explore the concept of the blue economy’’. Given an insider information to the concept of the blue economy, as espoused by Gunter Pauli, the originator of the blue economy concept in the world in his book, ‘’The Blue Economy 10 Years of 100 Innovations,100 million Jobs’’, had described it as ‘’the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, job creations while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem’’.

The blue economy activities, according to the NIMASA boss includes   maritime shipping, fishing and aquaculture, coastal tourism, Renewable energy, water desalination, Undersea cabling, seabed extractive industries and deep sea mining, marine genetic resources and Biotechnology.  

Osagie Edward, an Assistant Director and the agency spokesperson, may have spoken the mind of the NIMASA, helmsman, when he disclosed that through   ‘’efficient  management and sustainable exploitation  of the marine resources   in the nation’s waters , including the seas and oceans, ‘’it will  go a long way   in providing  a veritable tool  for the country’s economic growth’’.

 Daniel Atakpa, a Naval Commodore, and a former Commandant   of the Nigerian Demographic School, in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre who had collaborated the NIMASA’s, director General’s views that the development of the nation’s blue economy was long overdue to be fully tapped, now has described it as’’ an evolving maritime ecological concept aimed at the sustainable exploitation of ocean resources for economic growth’’.

 He had revealed    that ‘’Nigeria has a coastline of about 42o nautical miles and an exclusive economic zone, EEZ, of 200 nautical miles which translates to maritime area of 84,000 square nautical miles’’, an indication that the country will benefit immensely from the blue economy if fully tapped in the years ahead.

The United Nations, UN, and the World Bank, Group, had said that on a yearly basis, ‘’the ocean economy has an estimated turnover of between $3 and $6 trillion, stressing that’’ ‘this includes employment and ecosystem services provided by the ocean and cultural services in different parts of the world”.The UN and World Bank Group, were said to have also estimated  that ‘’fisheries and aquaculture’’, will contribute $100 billion annually and about 260 million jobs to the global economy’’.

 Notwithstanding the claims of the UN and the World Bank Group that the blue economy will contribute immensely to the growth of the global economy to the tune of between $3 to $6 trillion dollars, the African Union, AU had said that the Continent currently generates about $300 billion   and would be creating 49 jobs in the process as against wat Pauli, who had initiated the concept of the blue economy had   estimated of an employment of 100 million jobs in in the world economy.

The Blue Economy expert had said that his estimate   was based on the fact that ‘’today more people are employed in renewable energies than the global oil and gas industries combined’’, stating investment in wind, solar, and geothermal power generation needs investment in the new fossil fuel power plants.

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