By Babajide Okeowo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, inaugurated an Expanded Partnership Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy.
The committee, chaired by the Vice President, is composed of state governors, ministers, representatives of military and security agencies and members from the private sector.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, in a statement said the Federal Government was set to further explore the economic opportunities available through oceanic and marine resources around the country.
The Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.
It entails emerging renewable energy, seabed extractive activities and marine biotechnology and bio-prospecting.
Performing the inauguration, Osinbajo said that the blue economy offered a whole new vista of opportunity for economic activity.
On the composition of the committee, the vice president said it had representatives from the states and the geo-political zones, agency representation, Chief of Naval Staff, Comptroller-General of Customs, NIMASA and several other agencies.
He said ministries such as Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Environment were part of the committee.
“There will be several agencies and several interactions between institutions because we are dealing with ports and terminals, oil and gas, the environment, tourism, hospitality – a whole range of economic activities that are connected to what is described as the blue economy,” he said.
The inauguration was attended by the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo; Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikpeazu, Minister of State for Power, Godwin Agba and the representative of the Transportation Minister, Dr Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation.
Others included the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, and private sector representatives.
The committee’s terms of reference include providing an assessment of the current realities, opportunities and challenges for economic diversification and the growth of a sustainable blue economy in Nigeria.
The committee will also identify and review relevant policies and institutional/capacity building mechanisms for blue economy development in Nigeria, among others.