The Federal Government has declared that the annual earnings of $6bn in freight cost and $8bn in oil and gas and other maritime activities have come under threat from pirate attacks, oil theft and other illegal activities militating against the growth of the sector.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, in a keynote address during the 2018 World Maritime Day in Lagos on Tuesday said, “Available statistics show a total freight cost estimate of between $5bn and $6bn annually, while the maritime component of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry is worth an estimated $8bn alongside seaborne transportation, oceanic extractive resource exploitation and export processing zones.”
The minister, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Sabiu Zakari, said Nigeria, which enjoys a larger share in the movement of cargoes in the Gulf of Guinea, had emerged as a tough transit route for cargoes owing to maritime crimes, which had affected shipping activities around the region.
Amaechi stated, “It is imperative that the route is secured to fully harness the benefits of maritime trade.
“It is worthy to note that for effective contribution of shipping activities to the development of Nigeria’s economy, there is an urgent need to curb and combat these illegal maritime activities in our waters, as these crimes continue to constitute impediments to economic development.
“As long as these crimes continue to pose danger to the Gulf of Guinea and our maritime domain, the benefits of the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day celebration, ‘Our Heritage: Better Shipping for a Better Future’, will continue to be elusive.”