President Muhammadu Buhari has identified maritime sector as rich with untapped assets which the government is repositioning to drive the economy and promote diversification.
Buhari stated this on Tuesday in Abuja, at the launch of a book written by Mr Bashir Jamoh, Executive Director (Finance and Administration), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The book is entitled, “Harnessing Nigeria’s Maritime Assets – Past, Present and Future’’.
Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said that the Nigerian maritime sector had rich and untapped assets.
He said that with reforms and proper investments in the sector, the country would grow economically.
“The reforms have already started with NIMASA which has been so far transformed from a contract-awarding agency to a true industry regulator it was created to be.
“Poor attention paid to the sector by past administrations robbed it of the capacity to effectively play a pivotal role in economic development.
“All will be done to grow the sector, especially in the urgent task of boosting non-oil revenue sources.
“Many shippers and stakeholders have been angling for the disbursement of the cabottage funds being kept which will be appropriately spent at the right time, for the purpose it was created.
“We will not bring the cabottage fund out to be shared. There’s a new NIMASA in place today; it is not a contract-awarding agency,’’ Buhari said.
The president urged Nigerians to read the book to be more informed and support his administration’s efforts to transform the sector.
Also speaking, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said that the book was rich as it captured ways of taking the sector to greater heights.
“I am happy that this book has brought out the essentials and major elements that constitute our maritime assets.
“ You will agree with me that if you harness all the assets together without providing the needed security, definitely you will be in a very difficult situation.
“I urge NIMASA not to forget the Lake Chad waters; we still have that gold mine there and it provides more opportunity for us to earn more and improve the nation’s economy.
“ We are working very hard to ensure that the North East is stabilised and that will require the concerted efforts of all Nigerians,’’ Buratai said.
In his remarks, the Ogun Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, commended the author and described the book as well-researched.
Amosun who was represented by Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, the deputy governor of the state, said that the content of the book would help improve the maritime sector.
“I know that this book will further develop the economy of this nation especially the maritime industry.
“ I am very optimistic that this book will be a practical blueprint in diversifying and transforming the economy, ’’ Amosun said.