DEEP BLUE PROJECT: NIGERIA HAS THE POTENTIALS TO BECOME THE MARITIME HUB OF AFRICA—- MAJAN
***Recommends steps for its actualization
BY Mcanthony ONUOHA
As President Muhammadu Buhari is expected in Lagos this Thursday , the 10th of June, 2021, to launch the Deep Blue Project, Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), has urged the Federal Government to carry out the project with all seriousness.
PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR.
The Deep Blue Project being championed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), was applauded by Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria during “MAJAN ROUNDTABLE”, a special forum where issues bordering on maritime sector are x-rayed and lasting solutions proffered.
Having roundly considered the tremendous contributions of the maritime industry to the nation’s economic growth, after oil and gas , the group urged relevant stakeholders especially the Federal Government, to make sure it explores every measure that would develop the sector so as to fully benefit from its untapped potentials.
MEMBERS OF MARITIME JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (MAJAN) DISCUSSING THE PROJECT
However, MAJAN commended NIMASA for the laudable project which is targeted at tackling the incidents of piracy, sea robbery and other Maritime crimes, adding that Nigeria must tap the potentials of the sea by investing heavily in capacity building, infrastructure, ship building and seafarers development.
The group also believe so much that the project, if properly driven, will engender massive jobs creation, add to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product and increase Consolidated Revenue to fund the national Budget. Not only that, it is also the belief of the maritime advocacy group that the Deep Blue Project will be more effective and sustainable if there is a policy framework to support and drive it as it insisted that the measure would totally avoid the truncation of the project, as it is always the case in Nigeria should there be a change in administration.
MAJAN went ahead to recommend that the project be driven by an assemblage of maritime experts and technocrats for the objectives to be fully realised; adding that the promoters of the Deep Blue Project must ensure that they carry along key industry stakeholders to ensure their buy-in and full participation, commitment and investment.
The forum called on the Federal Government to urgently disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund(CVFF) to indigenous Maritime Operators to enable them leverage on the initiative, even as it pointed out that the Deep Blue Project would lead to diversification of the nation’s economy with the attendant foreign exchange earnings.
Nevertheless, the group believes the nation can surpass its oil revenue if proper attention was given to the Maritime sector, listing countries like Singapore, Denmark, the Philippines, Egypt, among others as climes that developed into maritime superpowers through the Deep Blue Economy.
Finally, the group stated through its President, Comrade Ray Ugochukwu, that it understood that NIMASA was working with the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, the Office of the Department of State Service to evolve a common front to tackle Maritime insecurity, and thereby commended the collaboration. He added that if the project was fully implemented, Nigeria would become the maritime hub of the continent.