By Isaac Anumihe
Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, has urged the Federal Government to focus its attention on the maritime industry as it has the potential to reflate Nigeria’s economy in recession.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference in Lagos with the theme, “Africa’s Maritime Capital: Nigeria and Her Potential”, Afolabi said the maritime industry possessed the potential to rescue the country from the current economic troubles by becoming the primary source of revenue for the government.
“The current economic situation has increased the need for an inclusive search for an alternative route to national revival and rebirth, forcing upon us a movement away from decades of fixation on the traditional black gold to the maritime – the emerging glittering ‘blue gold’. Diligent and sustained exploitation of the vast maritime resource endowments of this sector may prove to be that very ‘low-hanging fruit’ that Nigeria needs at a time such as we are in today,” he said.
To turn the potential in the industry to tangible economic benefits, Afolabi advised the government to provide the conducive environment, propound the right legislation and provide massive infrastructural renewal, among others.
Also, the Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi, said operators in the maritime industry have to show tenacity in making a difference in view of the mounting challenges they face. She said massive investment in the industry by private operators is one of the key game-changing strategies to take full advantage of the industry’s abundant opportunities.
Using her company as a case study, Jadesimi said over $500 million investments have been made in both the first and second phases of its operations despite the plethora of obstacles that have been erected on its path.
She said it was almost unbelievable some years back that a company of LADOL’s status could be established in Nigeria, adding that its tenacity and faith in the country and the maritime industry have aided it in providing support for ship building and large engineering structures.
She noted that with such deep investments LADOL has made, Nigeria can begin to change the world’s business model in favour of Nigeria and thereby grow the country to become a giant in the maritime world.
The Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference is an initiative of the Maritime Forum in the Law Faculty of University of Lagos designed to be an avenue to stimulate intellectual discussions between maritime experts and the university community, especially students with interest in the maritime industry, on contemporary issues in the industry, both locally and internationally.
Over 1,000 students drawn from various departments of the university and other higher institutions across the country attended the event that was also graced by seasoned maritime experts like Greg Ogbeifun, CEO, Stratz Group, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, Major Henry Ajetunmobi, Executive Director, SIFAX Group, among others.