In a visionary move, Minister Adegboyega Oyetola, at the 2023 Investment Summit and Expo in Abuja, unveiled an ambitious plan to catapult Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy sector into a powerhouse, targeting an annual revenue of $20 billion and the creation of two million jobs.
Represented by Prof. Busayo Fakinlede, his technical aide, Oyetola outlined a comprehensive four-year strategy to rival the oil and gas sector in contributing to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product ,GDP.
The minister emphasized the need for strategic development within the maritime sector, citing ongoing efforts in expanding and optimizing ports, infrastructure refurbishment, deep-sea ports development, and streamlining operations through policies such as online clearing and National Single Window.
He revealed that the untapped potential within the Marine and Blue Economy sector is estimated to be a staggering $296 billion, underscoring the monumental opportunity for growth.
Oyetola articulated a resolute commitment to driving policies and initiatives aimed at unlocking this latent value, setting an ambitious goal of generating up to $20 billion annually and creating two million jobs through strategic development.
To achieve this, the ministry plans to organize a Stakeholders’ Roundtable as a platform for engaging key players in the marine and blue economy sector. Oyetola expressed the vision for this sector to become a substantial contributor to the nation’s economy, with the goal of at least matching the GDP contribution of the oil and gas sector within the next four years.
Highlighting ongoing projects like Ibom, Badagry, Ondo, Snake Island, Bonny, Burutu Sea Ports, the Funtua Dry Port, Lokoja River Port, and Jos Inland Dry Port, the minister anticipated the creation of new economic hubs, increased employment opportunities, and improved goods movement, all contributing significantly to the nation’s growth and development.
The commitment to inland waterways development was emphasized, with plans to link all regions of the country through public-private partnerships ,PPP, to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Notably, the government is considering re-establishing a National Shipping Line through a strategic PPP arrangement to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market.
Oyetola clarified that this initiative would not hinder local players’ growth but rather provide avenues for them to create and extract more value from the sector, particularly through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs.
Indigenous ship owners would receive support through the Cabotage Fund to acquire more vessels, allowing them to leverage the Cabotage Act, granting Nigerians exclusive rights to control locally-generated seaborne trade.
This holistic approach reflects a visionary roadmap, signaling a transformative era for Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy sector.