22 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has called on the government to initiate plans to harness the potentials of the nation’s marine resources to create a blue economy with a view to improving the quality of lives of its citizens.
Speaking at the commencement of the Lagos International Maritime week, the Chamber’s President, Dr. (Mrs) Nike Akande said that there are numerous untapped marine resources in the nation’s coastal and territorial waters that could be another source of revenue for the government.
Akande who described Blue economy is about harnessing the marine resources for the benefit of mankind without undermining the environment also said that the concept has recently become popular amongst development experts adding that it is also seen as complementary to the traditional economy.
The Chamber boss explained that in the face of declining government revenue and high levels of unemployment, the need to explore other sources of revenue has become inevitable.
She said “We need to adopt some strategies and models in line with international best practices.
“Firstly, we must do an audit of available legislations, opportunities, challenges, threats and projections as provided by leading development institutions like the World Bank, United Nations, International Institute for Environment and development, IIED, Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, WRAP, World Wildlife Foundation, WWF.
“We must identify the opportunities and challenges that the economy can bring.
“There is need to design and create an enabling policy and regulatory environment that promotes the development and emergence of a sustainable blue economy.
“There is a compelling need for the diversification of African economies that depend heavily on minerals and commodities and have coastal resources to leverage on to grow their economies.
“Some African countries are faced with declining government revenues and slowing growth, accompanying these are rising inflation, worsening poverty level, rising unemployment and weakening consumer demand.
“With available statistics on Africa coastlines and maritime sector dynamics, it is clear that we are not yet making the most of our marine resources.
“We surely need to do much more to optimize the vast opportunities in African Blue economy”.
She opined that a good management model and strategy for exploring the resources embedded in the African oceans is needed to fully tap the potentials of the marine resources.
Similarly, convener of the conference, Mrs. Edodo Emore said that harnessing marine resources for growth will not only stimulate the economy but attract foreign investors to marine sub-sector.
Edodo explained that maritime fora like the Lagos Maritime week is one of the tools that are needed to attract Foreign Direct Investment in the country.