The Nigerian Maritime industry has been projected to grow from 2.5 to five per cent this year. This growth, according to stakeholders, will result in hiring more maritime services in the course of the year. The growth period, they said, will cover the 2019 general elections and the post-election era.
The projection is contained in the Nigerian maritime industry forecast for 2018/2019 unveiled in Lagos by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
The forecast showed that Nigerians should expect total fleet size to grow by 4.41 per cent this year.
According to Peterside, the outlook is the key parameter that will drive the maritime industry. He highlighted some other key drivers of the sector as geographic factor, availability of skilled labour force, an efficient and effective regulatory environment, manpower and human capacity development, maritime infrastructural development, globalisation and new technology, among others.
The projection also revealed that oil tanker fleet size will increase by 1.7 per cent during the period under consideration, while the non-oil tanker fleet size is expected to attain 8.72 per cent this year.
Peterside, who underscored the role being played by the maritime sector, said it’s a propeller in the exploitation, distribution and exportation of the nation’s ocean resources, with a total annual freight cost estimated at between $5 billion and $6 billion annually. He said the maritime component of the Nigerian oil and gas industry is worth an estimated $8 billion, which further reflected the prominence of maritime to the Nigerian economy.
“As a regulator, we are driven by values and commitment, as these are the only ways that investors can be attracted to harness the great potential in our maritime sector. On our part, we will continue to work out incentives and maritime sector specific interventions to attract investments,” Peterside said.
He said the forecast reviewed developments in the industry in 2017; showed expected international and local developments in policy and regulatory environment for the maritime sector last year and this year and also takes a look at emerging opportunities and challenges for the maritime industry. He added that all were done with the sole aim of realising a robust and business friendly maritime domain that will also create avenues for economic prosperity.
Peterside identified five bills undergoing legislative processes in the National Assembly as key regulatory developments in the maritime industry that will affect the maritime sector this year.
These are the Anti-Piracy Bill; the establishment of the Maritime Development Bank; Inland Fisheries Amendment Bill; the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Bill and the Cabotage Act Amendment Bill 2017.
He said when passed into law, they will help realise the dream of making Nigeria the maritime hub in Africa this year.