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Amaechi avoided issues on national fleet but pledges to harness seas, oceans potentials

Expectations of critical maritime stakeholders were dashed between Monday and Tuesday as the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, avoided discussions and the highly needed updates on the level of planning for the new national fleet to drive maritime hub in West Coast shipping.

Rather, the minister, who was the special guest of honour, only told participants at the celebration of the African Day of the Seas and Oceans that there was need for Nigeria and other African countries to articulate strategies for effective utilisation of the continent’s maritime resources for sustainable development.

While keeping mute on how to refloat a national shipping line either via the private sector of by the government which is the uppermost maritime issue in the minds of Nigerian stakeholders, Amaechi told participants that the federal government has promised to increase the revenue base of the country and create enormous employment opportunities for Nigerians by embarking on massive development and utilisation of the nation’s seas and oceans resources for economic growth.

Whereas experts query how this promise will be achieved without mention on national fleet, the minister said “Apart from providing enabling environment for local and foreign investors in the maritime domain, the government said it would also maximise and unlock the huge potential in its ocean and seas”.

Amaechi, who was represented by the Director of Special Duties, Aminu Ibrahim Dutse, called for the formulation of pragmatic and viable policies that will ensure good governance across the continent of Africa.

He said “In Africa, available data shows that the 10 richest countries by GDP have large maritime domain. The sudden realization of the economic importance of the seas and oceans cannot be unconnected with the huge oil and gas resources that are daily being discovered in the deep seas and oceans”.

“This administration has realized the need to explore the nation’s maritime resources as efforts are on-going to improve infrastructure at the sea ports,” Amaechi said.