NIGERIA’S COMMITMENT STATEMENT AT THE SUSTAINABLE BLUE ECONOMY CONFERENCE IN NAIROBI, KENYA NOVEMBER, 2018 Presented by the DG of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside
On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, I bring you special greetings from the government and people of Nigeria.
Nigeria is happy to congratulate the President and people of Kenya on the successful hosting of the Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy and is delighted to act as a co-sponsor of this high powered event.
It is our expectation that this high level conference will build on previous efforts by our Heads of Government to develop comprehensive and coherent strategies that address the Blue Economy such as African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AIMS 2050); African Maritime Transport Charter; 2016 African Charter on Maritime Safety, Security and Development (Lome Charter); and “Agenda 2063” which we as a nation have signed on to.
The High level participation in this conference demonstrates the importance we attach to the Blue Economy and our resolve to use the resources of the Seas and Oceans to drive accelerated economic growth and reduce poverty to its barest minimum.
The crash of mineral resources and commodity prices and the general economic growth stagnation has forced nations to look for new nodes of economic growth; and ways of fulfilling our commitments towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The Blue Economy is the most viable option that we have as it remains the most critical economic fulcrum to accomplish our dreams of a prosperous continent.
Steps taken by our Government to mainstream the Blue Economy into our Economic Recovery Growth Plan
As a strategic step to ensure a coordinated sector to drive the Blue Economy, Nigeria has formulated a draft National Transport Policy awaiting approval of the Federal Executive Council; this will provide the necessary platform to implement at the country level the framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of Africa’s Maritime Domain.
Nigeria has set up a high powered Committee coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to formulate and map out a road map to align the Blue Economy regime with our Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP).
We are tackling issues of maritime security and safety which is the greatest threat to maximizing benefits of the Blue Economy. We have a dedicated anti-piracy bill before the National Assembly that will provide the requisite framework for the fight, prosecution and punishment of piracy and other related crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) of Nigeria has also approved the acquisition of intelligence gathering maritime domain awareness assets and military response assets to fight pirates and make our maritime domain safe for economic activities.
Nigeria is currently reforming almost all institutions that have roles to play in the Blue Economy space such as the Ports Authority, the Maritime Safety Administration, the Shippers’ Council, Maritime Academy, among others, to reposition them to work effectively and efficiently in the new order.
A new National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill has most recently been passed by the National Assembly to provide efficient economic regulatory framework for the transport sector, as well as mechanism for monitoring compliance of government agencies, transport services providers and users in the regulated transport industry.
In recognition of the benefits of promoting intra-African trade development, job creation, poverty reduction and modernization, Nigeria recently established the “Presidential Committee on impact and readiness Assessment on the African Continental Free Trade Area” (AfCFTA).
We are investing heavily in development of new infrastructure such as deep sea ports and intermodal transport as drivers of growth in the maritime sector.
We have focused on ease of doing business in the past two (2) years which led to Nigeria moving more than ten places up in the global ease of doing business ranking.
All of these actions underscore the importance our government has placed on the Blue Economy Concept.
As a country we are conscious of our responsibilities and international obligations which have given rise to our endorsement and domestication of key International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other important African Union continental instruments.
We are mindful and highly committed to our responsibilities to protect our marine environment to ensure that our continent do not become dumping ground for pollutants which can prevent exploration of ocean resources.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria, as a nation, is fully committed to Africa’s drive to harness the vast potentials in its Maritime Domain and will continue to cooperate with sister countries and developmental bodies to advance the prosperity of the African Continent.
Your Excellency, We pledge our commitment to the overarching issues of addressing poverty, corruption, trade barriers, and all those issues that have hindered growth. More particularly Nigeria as a country will prioritize the integration of Blue Economy into our circular economic restoration and growth plan; we will leave no stone unturned to create limitless opportunities for our people and lift them out of poverty. This is our resolve as the most viable option we have for Sustainable Development is commitment to the Blue Economy.
Thank you for the opportunity to address this gathering