The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA has projected growth of two point five to five per cent within the period 2018-2019.
Director General of the agency, Dakuku Peterside said this during the Maritime industry forecast for 2018/2019 unveiled in Lagos.
The analysis in the publication shows that Nigerians should expect total fleet size to grow by 4.08% in 2018 and 4.41% in 2019.
The non-oil tanker fleet size is projected to increase by 8.15 % in 2018 and 8.72% in 2019 while the oil rig count is projected to increase by 27.67% in 2018 and 0% in 2019.
The report also noted that the Maritime sector plays a major role in the exploitation, distribution and export of Nigeria’s ocean resources with a total annual freight cost estimated at between $5 and $6 billion annually.
The Maritime component of the Nigerian oil and gas industry is worth an estimated $8 billion further reflecting the prominence of the sector to the Nigerian economy
The Nigerian Maritime Industry Forecast for 2018 and 2019 which is the first of its kind in the sector is intended to serve as a compass for local and international stakeholders willing to do business in the Nigeria Maritime domain.
The Director General expressed delight at the Maritime forecast release which coincided with the release of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed that Nigeria’s exit from recession.
He noted that “it is a positive indicator that Nigeria’s economy is rebound for growth in 2018 and beyond”.
Peterside said “the forecast reviewed developments in the industry in 2017; shows expected International and Local Developments in Policy and Regulatory Environment for the Maritime Sector in 2018 and 2019 and also takes a look at Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for the Maritime Industry; all with the sole aim of realising a robust and business friendly Maritime domain that will also create avenues for economic prosperity”.
He identified five bills undergoing legislative processes at the National Assembly as key regulatory developments in the Nigerian Maritime industry that will affect the maritime sector.
These include “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”.
“All these if passed to Law will help realise the dream of making Nigeria the maritime hub in Africa.”
Peterside explained that despite the fact that the oil sector remains one of the pillars of the Nigerian economy and a catalyst for measuring the nation’s growth, the success of it is still largely dependent on the maritime sector which continues to play a strategic role in the economy of the country.
He also pointed out that some other factors that have contributed to the gradual growth being recorded in the sector are “the receding crime in the Niger Delta Region, the Deep Blue Economy scale up of our maritime security architecture and continuous collaboration, which is addressing the immediate challenge in this areas aimed at suppressing the emerging threats on our waters”.
While unveiling the book that contained the forecast for the industry, Peterside stated that the outlook is the key parameters that will drive the maritime industry and highlighted some 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 amongst others”.
Secretary General of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Barrister Mfon Usoro commended the forecast as a great interaction with the industry players to move the sector forward.
Usoro, who was former DG of NIMASA, also observed that the increased presence of NIMASA activities in the maritime sector of the West and Central Africa sub-region is an indication that the present leadership of the agency is on course.
A lecturer at the Lagos Business School, Dr Doyin Salami said that forecasts are essential tools for growing an industry.
In his analysis of the maritime forecast at the event, he pointed out that “the gaps in the sector must be filled by policy makers in the sector in order to realise its potentials”.
He urged all investors, local and international to take the forecast serious as a way of enhancing the growth of their businesses.