President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the maritime sector is being repositioned by the Federal Government to take a lead as one of the viable alternate sources of revenue in growing the economy.
Buhari, who spoke as Special Guest of Honour at a public book presentation titled: Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future, authored by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, said that there is no change without pain, hence the need for Nigerians to keep faith with the Federal Government’s determination of rejuvenating the economy.
The President, represented by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, noted that Nigeria has relied so much on crude oil economy, hence it is time to focus on other sources, particularly the Blue Economy, which covers both aquatic and marine spaces, including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground waters.
He commended the Dr. Dakuku Peterside-led management of NIMASA for its efforts in repositioning the maritime sector and for its huge contributions to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government.
In a related vein, the President has dismissed government’s plan to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, saying the money was being kept and would be appropriately spent at the right time for the purpose it was created for.
He said: “We will not bring the cabotage fund out to be shared. The previous administration blew the cabotage fund. There’s a new NIMASA in place today. It’s not a contract-awarding agency. Cabotage money was spent on maritime faculties here and there in many universities and yet, we really have nothing to show for all these huge spending.
“There was affluence with the former NIMASA DG which is not available today. This is a different era. A lot of people ask this current DG why he’s not spending like his predecessor.
“We inherited a wrecked economy where sharing money was the basic survival of it. Read the book, it’ll improve you.”
However, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who buttressed Federal Government’s quest for diversification, added that the government is willing to implement any new idea that will bring about a boost to the Nigerian economy.
Also, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, assured that the military would continue to provide necessary security for the protection of the nation’s economy, including the maritime sector where the Army, Navy and Air Force are currently playing major roles in protecting our assets.