Oyetola Urges Closer Collaboration Among Maritime Stakeholders

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The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola.
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has urged stakeholders in the maritime sector to establish partnerships that will drive the blue economy towards realising the Federal Government’s vision of a sustainable maritime sector.

The minister made this call earlier today at the commencement of a two-day Ministerial Stakeholders Engagement aimed at enhancing activities in the sector.

Addressing the focus of the interactive session, the minister stated, “Let us take advantage of this opportunity to form partnerships, encourage innovation and propel Nigeria’s blue economy towards a prosperous and sustainable future.”

The minister, represented by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Oloruntola Michael emphasised that enhanced efficiency in the sector can only be achieved through open and constructive dialogue, collaboration, knowledge sharing and innovative solutions among shipowners, trawler operators, fish dealers, port authorities, terminal operators, government agencies, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.

Oyetola said, “As we navigate the complex waters of global trade and economic uncertainty, we must acknowledge the significance of the marine and blue economy sector in driving national economic growth and development.

“The government has identified this sector as a pivotal area of focus, and we are committed to creating an enabling environment that supports your businesses and promotes the growth of the sector as a whole.”

Highlighting some of the challenges affecting stakeholders, Oyetola mentioned that the ministry has identified safety and security concerns, regulatory hurdles, and market fluctuations, and is working on unlocking the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund to support the growth and development of shipping businesses in the country.

He emphasised that overcoming the industry’s challenges requires input from both parties, adding that this interaction is a step by the government to refine and reverse the unfavorable trade terms within the sector.

He further reassured stakeholders of the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment that supports businesses and promotes the growth of the sector as a whole.

Representatives of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria stressed the need to consider the independence of ship registration, as observed in other maritime countries, and called for the implementation of the Cabotage Fund and a review of the Deep Blue Project.

Similarly, the president of the Nigerian Trawlers Association, Ben Okonkwo, speaking on behalf of fish trawler operators, identified multiple regulations and the high cost of diesel as factors hindering the smooth operation of the sub-sector and urged the Federal Government to provide measures to reduce diesel costs.

Oluchi Okorafor
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