Despite the huge natural and human resources in Nigeria’s maritime sector, negligence on the part of government is seen as responsible for the country’s inability to reap the economic gains from the industry and maximise its potential.
Managing Director/CEO of GOG Marine Limited, Bem Ibrahim Garba, who made this assertion, alleged that the Nigerian government, despite having full knowledge of the potential and economic benefits in the maritime sector, deliberately failed to recognise its importance or apply the knowledge to the development of the economy.
Garba, also lamented that Nigeria still lags behind Greece despite having similar opportunities in the industry and has to depend on many other seafaring states including the smaller European state to meet her maritime and logistics requirement
“If you are like me, and you think about situations like this deeply, you will find that the difference is not about a lack of resources, a lack of man power or one country being better endowed than the other. The difference actually lies in what each country knows and how she chooses to make use of that knowledge,” he said.
He added: “As a country, the Nigerian government officials responsible for the shipping industry’s development theoretically know and understand the significance of a well-developed indigenous shipping industry.
“They know about the millions of good paying jobs that this industry can create for local Nigerians. They know about the valuable taxes that the country could earn if this industry was fully optimised.
“They know about the pride that Nigeria would derive from having our national flag, proudly hoisted amongst the committee of well represented seafaring nations. The challenge lies in how well we have we choose to utilize this well-articulated knowledge?”
Garba pointed out that unlike Greece, Nigeria is not taking the issue of maritime business serious and have been unable to exploit it’s natural advantages.
According to him, “these two nation states have the natural advantage of proximity to the sea, giving their indigenous people (coastal people) the natural advantage of seeking employment, trade and wealth creation from trades associated with the Sea, yet these gains only accrue to one of the two states”.
“This story is about two countries knowing and understanding the importance of what they have, and applying that knowledge to the development of their economies” he said.