The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside says the maritime industry present a great opportunity for an economic rebirth if the potentials of blue economy was properly unleashed.
Peterside made the call at the opening of the National Tourism and Transport Summit and Expo 2018 held in Abuja.
The director-general, represented by Mr Anthony Ogadi, Director, Shipping Development, urged the Federal Government to provide maritime infrastructure development for tourist attraction in Nigeria.
He said that the blue economy was the effective, integrated use of the country’s seas and oceans to achieve economic development stating that water transport and tourism was the least taped in Nigeria.
According to him, cruise ships are major suppliers of tourists all over the world and Nigeria cannot be different if we do the right thing.
“The tourism industry can also leverage on the legal frameworks in the maritime industry for its development; legal frameworks such as international and regional conventions laws.
“And regulations that govern sea transport could facilitate and strengthen cruise shipping.
“In 2016 alone, the cruise liners or leisure vessels made a combined income of $35 billion with passenger traffic of over 24.7 million people.
“Nigeria is still completely left out of this business not because we do not have good beaches, beautiful islands or wonderful tourist attractions, but there seems not to be a synergy between the maritime industry and tourism industry,” he said.
Peterside, however, reinstated the agency commitment to tackle piracy, sea robbery and illegal activities through the establishment of the Maritime Guard Command with combined efforts from security agencies.
He said the agency had gone further to tackle Marine pollution from pipe line vandalism and domestic waste dumping into the lagoons, which was threatening the tourism potentials of the country.
According to him, the agency inaugurated a 100-man environmental guard to fight against the domestic dumping of refuse into the lagoon.
“In developing our tourism and transport industry, our watch word should be sustainability; this task cannot be left for government alone.
“But can only be achieved through collaborative efforts and shared responsibility between government, private organisations and citizenry.”