Marine & Blue Economy: National Policy Ready in Six Months, Says Oyetola

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, has said a robust process for the finalisation and validation of the National Policy on Marine and Blue Economy would be concluded by December 2024.

He noted that the policy was ongoing and that his administration has evolved key policy thrusts and goals to drive the ministry towards actualising developmental goals of the present Bola Ahmed Tinubu led government.

To this end, Oyetola hinted that a comprehensive four-year key results framework and implementation plan to guide the Ministry and its agencies had been developed.

The Marine and Blue Economy Minister, who said this while speaking yesterday, at the ongoing sectoral first year ministerial briefing in Abuja, also said the Ministry has attained some measure of success.

“The Ministry has achieved a ramp up of revenue to government in the last one year and is poised to do more. A comparison of Quarter 1, 2023, against Quarter 1, 2024, revenue performance across the agencies reveals a 92 per cent increase.”

The increase in revenue performance, he said was largely due to a 10 per cent increase in the number of vessels calling the ports and due to strategic investments in port infrastructure in the last one-year.

“Mooring boats, patrol vessels and dredging of the port’s channels, we have also tightened revenue assurance by deploying technology,” he added.

Furthermore, Oyetola said the core objective of the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy was the creation of a dynamic national policy framework aimed at creating the enabling environment required for the sector to thrive, nothing that it was in this regard that the Ministry engaged all stakeholders, experts, academia, and research institutions in assessing the current state of the sector.

Highlighting further, he maintained that the key measure of success for the Ministry was to increase the contribution of the marine and blue economy to national GDP, while generating revenue for government for the important task of national economic development.

To achieve this, he explained that, currently, “we are implementing a 3-pronged strategy that is focused on blocking revenue leakages, enhancing revenue generation from established sources and identifying and rolling out new blue economy revenue sources.”

He opined that revenue generation was critical to the ministry and in that regard, “we have commenced the rollout of the following initiatives among others: Commissioning of revenue enhancement studies focused on the Ministry, its departments, and agencies. The objective is to further identify and block leakages while identifying recommendation to expand current revenue sources.

“Automation of revenue collection processes to eliminate bottlenecks and enhance transparency and accountability. Deploying revenue assurance technologies to ensure accurate and complete billings in line with established contracts and services rendered.

“Ensuring the efficient utilisation of existing assets through concessions to the private sector and public private partnerships as required. Investment promotion campaigns targeting both domestic and international investors for investments in the marine and blue economy sub-sectors.”

On capacity building, he said: “We have trained 100 seagoing officers, fishing vessels captains, and engineers in handling of fishing acoustics equipment, multi-beam echo-sounders and deep-sea fishing.

“We have recorded 23 per cent increase in the placement of Nigerian Seafarers on Board vessels in Q1 of 2024 culminating in boosting indigenous participation in commercial shipping and enhancing the reputation and sea-time experience.

“Development of courses on coastal and marine tourism, biodiversity conservation, ship finance and management, and other simulation-based courses for seafarers. Expected completion in Q4, 2024

“For the first time in 47 years, foreign students were admitted and trained at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron,” Oyetola added.

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