What does a Blue Economy Ministry mean for Nigeria

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu established the Ministry for Marine and Blue Economy in May 2023, recognizing Nigeria’s strategic maritime position. The latest creation by the president goes a long way in  emphasizing Nigeria’s significant strides in creating a dynamic maritime sector nationally and internationally.
According to the Federal Government, the key initiatives of the new “Blue Ministry” would include developing a framework for short, medium, and long-term outcomes. Worthy of looking forward to according to the FG, will be  notable achievements in national security involving legal frameworks like the Suppression of Piracy and Other Offences Act and the “DEEP BLUE PROJECT,” enhancing maritime security.
At the helm of affairs of this new institution is Adegboyega Oyetola. The former governor of Osun state (South West Nigeria), is piloting activities of this much needed government agency, with one simple mandate; foster an inclusive marine and blue economy ecosystem.
Adegboyega Oyetola on X: "On this historic occasion of the peaceful  conclusion of the primary election and my emergence as the candidate of our  great party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in
Like the newly born messiah of Nigeria’s marine and blue ecosystem whom the world had been expecting, governments across the world have already started to “court the new bride”.
 The British and the United States governments have both expressed their willingness and readiness to partner the Nigerian Government towards developing the newly created Marine and Blue Economy ministry to support the country’s economic growth.
The representatives of the two countries made this known recently during their separate meetings with the minister Adegboyega Oyetola, at his office in Abuja.
The US delegation was led by Ambassador Jessye Lapenn, the Senior Coordinator for Atlantic Cooperation, while that of the British was led by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Richard Montgomery.
Speaking during the visit, Ambassador Lapenn, who noted that the minister was the first person she was visiting after the ministerial meeting for Atlantic Cooperation, which was convened by the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken on the margins of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, UNGA in New York, said the US government was willing to offer technical support to the ministry with a view to supporting Nigeria’s economic growth through the sector.
She further said that the two countries would also be exploring technology to solve some of the challenges in the Marine and Blue Economy sector.
On his part, the British High Commissioner, Dr.  Richard Montgomery, expressed the government’s desire to partner with the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenge of illegal fishing in Nigeria’s waters, just as he applauded the decision of the minister to embark on a PPP arrangement in terms of investment in the sector.
He noted that the British Government was willing and ready to share information and precautionary lessons with Nigeria with a view to partnering it to protect its marine resources.
“We are committed to rehabilitating our ports for efficiency. I am particularly excited about the desire to partner with us to tackle the challenge of illegal fishing in our waters.
“We believe that marine fishing will support our economic growth and create job opportunities, especially for our youths. We will equally be leveraging the UK’s  Blue Planet Fund, aimed at supporting developing countries like us to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty, especially now that there is a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in place in Nigeria,” Oyetola stated, while acknowledging the visit of both diplomats.
Ambassador of Denmark to Nigeria, H.E Sune Krogstrup, was also at the Ministry recently, where he interfaced with the minister, Adegboyega Oyetola CON, on how to further strengthen and expand the cooperation between Nigeria and Denmark with regards to the Maritime space.
Denmark pledges support for Nigeria's renewable energy sector
The ambassador, accompanied by the embassy’s Senior Programme Manager, Florence Fowoke Iseko, told the minister that Denmark being owners of the biggest ships and APM a Danish concern, being one of the world’s biggest ports operators, is willing and ready to collaborate with the newly established ministry of Marine and Blue Economy to enable Nigeria optimise the benefits of establishing it.
Responding, the minister who noted that he was delighted to receive the team, said considering that in Denmark, the maritime sector accounts for over 25 per cent of the total Danish exports of goods and services, he was willing to explore opportunities with the Danish government to ensure the Marine and Blue Economy sector of Nigeria increases its contribution to the country’s GDP, in addition to creating jobs and reducing poverty.
He added that the ministry was open to partnerships and collaborations that allow for the promotion of economic growth and development in Nigeria.
Knowing fully well the economic potentials inherent in water tourism, the Federal government through the creation of this ministry is set to develop infrastructure in lake and coastal facing towns and cities across the country to further attract tourists to waters for maximum revenue generation.
Mr Oyetola has called for the need to invest in the fishing sector since most of the shrimps that are imported into the country are gotten from the nation’s waters.
The erstwhile Osun State Governor stated these during his working visit to one of the agencies under his ministry, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) office in Lagos, in continuation of his tour of the agencies under the ministry.
Interacting with the management and staff of the agency, Oyetola noted that no effort would be spared to properly harness the nation’s maritime potential, increase revenue generation and stem the tide of capital flight in the sector.
He said: “I am particularly interested in the NIMASA Modular Floating Dock because of its potential to generate employment and stem capital flight.
“But we must find a way of ensuring stakeholders’ buy-in, in whatever we do so that we are seen to be working together for the growth and development of Nigeria.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the fisheries sector contributed 1.09% of the country’s total GDP in the year 2020 and 0.9% in the Q3 of 2021.
“But we are determined to change the narrative by putting in place measures to make Nigeria a major player in that regard”  Oyetola noted in his statement.
While charging members of staff of NIMASA to rededicate themselves to quality service delivery and key into the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration, Oyetola said repositioning the sector was non-negotiable
“I have full confidence in our capabilities and dedication, and I look forward to witnessing the continued success of this institution in shaping the future of our maritime sector. Together, we can build a thriving blue economy that benefits us all,” Oyetola assures.

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