The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association of Nigeria has stated that the country’s inland waterways have huge revenue potential.

The President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, stated this while speaking on the prospects of the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority on Tuesday.

Ezeoke reiterated that ocean and waterways resources and plans must be incorporated into the Nigerian national developmental strategy.

 She harped on the need for a cohesive deliberate, strategic, and sustainable development plan to map out the headway to optimise the potential at all levels of the spectrum.

“Attention must be given to research and technology development. There must be effective regulation of the blue economic activities. There is also a need for an appropriate legal framework. More attention must be directed to our inland waterways for constant dredging to develop coastal shipping for agricultural goods for export. This will reduce the risk and cost of road transportation. There is also a dire need to build a reliable database,” Ezeoke remarked.

She asserted that the new ministry highlights a new frontier for national economic development with Nigeria’s vast coastline of 853km and 200 nautical miles of Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Nigeria’s coastline is almost one-third of the nation’s landmass. The ocean contributes an estimated $300bn to the African economy and supports over 49 million jobs. Nigeria must key into this big time.”

The former General Manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority argued that the new ministry is a commendable development and one in the right direction.

“It has given exposure to the non-oil sector of the economy for growth, and expansion and will highlight the many benefits accrual from the ocean resources, rivers, lakes, and the waterways,” she remarked.

She also stressed that the country’s shipping approach must be sustainable with the use of the ocean resources for economic growth and well-being.

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