Wednesday 22 November 2023

Oyetola Unveils Ambitious Plan For New National Shipping Line

In a bold move aimed at enhancing internally generated revenue (IGR), the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has revealed plans to re-establish a national shipping line projected to contribute a substantial $10 billion annually.

The announcement came during a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion on Advancing Sustainable Development in Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy held at the Continental Hotel in Lagos. Oyetola emphasised that the new ministry would adopt a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement to formulate strategies and policies driving development in the country’s maritime sector.

Highlighting the transformative potential of PPP models, Oyetola stressed that collaboration between the private sector’s efficiency and the public sector’s oversight could lead to significant advancements in the marine and blue economy. He clarified the intent behind re-establishing a national shipping line, emphasising its goal to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market within the country.

“This initiative will not seek to impede the growth of local players but rather to provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs,” Oyetola assured.

The ministry aims to leverage Nigeria’s extensive coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and a network of potentially navigable waterways spanning 10,000 kilometers across 28 of its 36 states. The minister sees this as a crucial factor for fostering sustainable economic growth.

Expressing optimism about the anticipated outcomes of the initiative, Oyetola envisioned the creation of substantial job opportunities and the facilitation of increased trade and investment, underscoring the collaborative and forward-looking approach of the ministry.

During her remarks, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Dr. Magdalene Ajani highlighted Nigeria’s maritime sector’s vast potential in natural and human resources, emphasising its role as a significant revenue source, a trade enabler and a key engine of economic growth.

“Nigeria is blessed with extensive aquaculture and an extensive exclusive economic zone (EEZ), making it a natural hub for shipping and international trade for most landlocked neighbouring nations in the West and Central Africa,” she noted.

Acknowledging the expertise present in the maritime industry, including indigenous shipowners, terminal operators, freight forwarders, shipping lines and legal professionals, Ajani commended the contributions of these stakeholders to the advancement of the Nigerian maritime Industry. She urged all stakeholders to contribute actionable ideas and blueprints to transform the sector, fostering sustainable growth and development.

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