The National Maritime Transport Policy is fast attracting investors, most especially those from Belgium, who are currently eager to tap from the windows of investment opportunity.
The above information was disclosed by the executive officers of Belgium-owned Port of Antwerp International during a meeting with the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, in Lagos.
Jamoh revealed that there were huge opportunities for investment in wreck removal and recycling, stressing that the Federal Government was planning a coordinated wreck removal policy to drive investment in the area.
The visiting team of executives had sought an audience with the NIMASA boss to follow up on investment interests in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of APEC-Antwerp/Flanders Port Training Centre and Port of Antwerp International, Kristof Waterschoot, and Director at Port of Antwerp International, Mario Lievens, said they were also in Nigeria to promote new partnership opportunities, especially human capacity development.
Waterschoot and Lievens, who hosted Jamoh at the Nigerian Belgian Chamber of Commerce, Lagos, said their mission was to discuss projects of interest, including inland ports, and strengthen the relationship between the Port of Antwerp and NIMASA, particularly in the areas of training and technical support.
They noted that Nigeria’s proposed National Maritime Transport Policy was closely monitored as it unfolded to see how Belgium could come in with investments.
“We believe in Nigeria,” said Waterschoot, who observed that the business climate in Nigeria could be difficult, but that there was hardly any country without its peculiar challenges.
A National Maritime Transport Policy is part of the government’s effort to develop maritime infrastructure and diversify the oil-dependent economy. Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, said at a recent stakeholders’ validation forum that the policy when approved, would lead to improved foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow and enhance the ability of the sector to compete at the international level.
Jamoh praised the long-standing economic relationship between Nigeria and Belgium. He highlighted the Federal Government’s abiding interest in diversifying the economy, saying the development of maritime infrastructure is part of the economic diversification drive.
He stated: “The National Maritime Transport Policy, which is being developed, is part of a wider agenda proposed to build alternatives to oil. The maritime sector is consciously being opened for investment by local and foreign investors to build a sustainable blue economy.
“One area I would like the Belgian private sector to come in is wreck removal and wreck recycling. There is a huge investment opportunity there, and there is also a big room for collaboration. This is more so as the Federal Government is planning a coordinated policy on wreck removal.”
Jamoh also sought Belgian partnership in the sea-time training of Nigerian seafarers and in the area of port safety and port security.