…As Okorefe insists parastatals under the Ministry must be put on their toes
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola has assured President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the Marine and Blue Economy sector will witness a rapid transformation within a shortest possible time.
Oyetola who disclosed this in a keynote address at the Silver Jubilee celebration of the League of Maritime Editors held in Lagos recently, stated that he had set up machineries and structure for the sector and made all principal actors and agencies to irrevocably key into realizing the potentials of the sector with regards to job creation, social development, increased contribution to national growth and economic development.
Represented by the Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Olujumi Oyetomi, the Minister said that he had since taken steps to involve all the agencies under his ministry to key into this mandate.
His words, “I have given my commitment to Mr. President and the nation that the Marine and Blue Economy sector will witness a rapid transformation within the shortest possible time.”
The Minister, however, described the theme for the Silver Jubilee anniversary which is “Harnessing Nigeria’s Potential In Marine and Blue Economy/The New Customs Act 2023 and Its Implication On Trade” as apt as according to him, “it will afford the Ministry the opportunity to examine the contributions of the Marine and Blue Economy sector to create commercial development and growth of the nation’s economy.”
“This is also the basis of the Ministerial deliverables given by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, to me and my ministry. We have since taken steps to involve all the agencies under my ministry to key into this mandate”, he added.
He maintained that the ministry had been enjoying a symbiotic relationship with the maritime editors and maritime reporters whose agenda setting for the maritime sector for which his ministry was the leading policy making body had been most challenging.
“I wish to add that most of the suggestions of the maritime editors and reporters are received in good faith by me and my management. And even though I am the pioneer Minister specifically for this sector, I have set up machineries and structure for the sector and made all principal actors and agencies to irrevocably key into realizing the potentials of the sector with regards to job creation, social development, increased contribution to national growth and economic development.
“In your suggestions and recommendations, we at the policy making level, sometimes see them as critical, however, we do not fail to distill them and apply them in the best way possible thus leading to the plausible progress in policy application in the maritime sector.
“It is therefore, no surprise today that we are collectively witnessing the progress which we are seeing today in the sector even though we are just starting now. It is on the earlier mentioned basis that I challenge your League to be patriotic, realistic when setting agenda not just for those of us at the policy making level but also for the agencies noting the ever pressing challenges in the sector which has not taken the front stage of attention in the past but which we are all trying to bring up to be at par with the development in many of the maritime and blue economy nations of the world.
“I submit that the partnership between the League and my Ministry is such that we will cherish and we will try to nurture to an all time high as much as time, as much as resources and other policy determinants will allow us. I therefore, salute the League of Maritime Editors on this occasion of your 25th year of existence and being marked with your retreat and awards holding today and I wish you the very best in your endeavors”, he declared.
On his part, a lecturer at the Maritime University of Nigeria, MUN, Dr. Charles Okorefe reminded the Minister that the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy had a lot of work to do even as he insisted that the parastatals under that Ministry must be put on their toes to be able to key into the visions of this blue economy concept as a lot was on ground for offer.
Okorefe noted that the more the Ministry put its acts together by bringing together those that could drive the vision of that Ministry, the better it will be for Nigeria.
“We also look at issues like deep sea mining and biodiversity. These are offerings that we have under the Blue Economy. So, when you are talking about deep sea mining, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, for instance, will also be an ally of our brand new ministry because there are lots of synergies that are required for those things that we need to extract and have meaningful returns for the ministry to run properly and all of these are talking about job creation because if you are just talking about these issues without looking at the prospect for job creation for Nigerians, it’s also a waste if time.
“So, what is in offer in terms of job creation? All of these areas I have just mentioned, marine tourism, for instance, Egypt maid about fourteen billion dollars just From the tourism alone on the Nile in 2022. So, if you want to bring that to Nigeria, how much did we make even in the past ten years from marine tourism? You cannot even aggregate it because the records are not there.
“So, talking about job creation, all of these elements I have mentioned are potential areas of job creation because it is a major issue in Nigeria today. A lot of young people are jobless meanwhile, we have an area that is green wherein a lot of jobs can be created. So, I think we have to look at that potential area of driving our marine and blue economy in Nigeria.
“Then, also, shipping and port operation, we still have a lot of challenges especially in the way our ports are being operated. How do you come to work by 8am and you close by 5pm like the civil servants? Is that how ports are run around the world? It’s not sustainable. So, what are those things that we need to out in place to make sure that our ports run 24 hours as in other places? Of course, security has to be number one and I want to believe that that area is being taken care of.
“So, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy has a lot of work to do in terms of liaising with the various segments that will make that ministry to run efficiently and to bring out the potentials that we have been talking about”, said.
Photo 1: Olujumi Oyetomi, Director, Press and Public Relations and representative of Minister of Marine and Blue Economy during the Silver Jubilee anniversary of the League of Maritime Editors in Lagos recently.
Photo 2: Dr. Charles Okorefe, Lecturer at the Maritime University of Nigeria, Okerenkoko, Delta State.
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