The maritime sector in Nigeria failed to attain the 5.5 per cent growth rate predicted for the year 2018 in the Nigerian Maritime Industry Forecast released by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) last year, M&P Nigeria confimed from its Director General on Tuesday.
The shortfall in NIMASA’s growth forecast was attributed to a number of developments including the volatile status of the oil market, uncertain global trade conditions, reduced cargo throughput at Nigerian ports, the recovering economy, piracy and reduced flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs).
Presenting the second edition of NIMASA’s Maritime Industry Forecast for 2019-2020 themed “Harnessing the Shipping and Maritime Sectors for Sustainable Growth” in Lagos, Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside said that while the Nigerian economy was gradually exiting recession, the maritime industry remained significantly below 2014 levels.
Dakuku noted that technically, the Nigerian maritime industry was still in recession as portrayed by the nation’s ports and vessels connectivity index, vessel arrivals at ports, cargo throughput and dead weight tonnage (DWT) of vessels that called at the ports in the period under review. He also highlighted the negative impact of piracy and other maritime crimes on the industry’s growth forecast and expressed confidence that on-going reforms would address the short comings and improve economic conditions.
In his analysis of the Maritime Industry Forecast 2019-2020, Dakuku said that the document was geared to raise critical maritime industry issues and best practices to guide investors and stakeholders to invest profitably.
“The Industry forecast is expected to increase awareness of investment opportunities, attract investors and create wealth for Nigeria’s teeming populace. The report will be of utmost significance to investors and operators,” he added.
According to the forecast, Nigeria’s economy was expected to grow at the rate of 3 per cent.
Dakuku noted that while the Federal Government was currently executing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it entered into with Messers HLS to provide state-of-the-art maritime security infrastructure for Nigeria, he was confident that the Executive Bill for the Act to Suppress Piracy and other Maritime Crimes would soon be passed by the National Assembly.
On his part, an economic analyst, Dr Doyin Salami, Kainosedge Consulting, observed that in spite of numerous opportunities, Nigeria’s maritime value chain remained largely untapped. He said that once the oil and gas component of the industry was removed, Nigeria’s maritime industry would be stripped bare.
He called on stakeholders to explore the several emerging opportunities in the industry in the areas of security, development and supply of requisite maritime skillset, infrastructure development and capital investments.
Salami said that according to the 2019-2020 forecast, the percentage of growth in the maritime industry was expected to increase this year, following Nigeria’s exit from recession. He also noted that the forecast predicted a 10 per cent increase in the cargo tonnage coming through Nigerian ports in the year 2019 and urged operators to brace for heightened activity.
The 2019-2020 Maritime Industry Forecast further revealed that developments in Nigeria’s maritime industry would be largely influenced by sentiments of the 2019 general elections and its aftermath, oil price stability and policy imperatives among other considerations. It also revealed that a significantly slower global economy in 2019, increased interest rates and the impact of IMO 2020 sulfur regime would contribute to affect the outlook of the maritime industry in Nigeria in the period under review.
The report further revealed that with the assumptions which are based on the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), in less than two years, Nigeria’s maritime industry would contribute at least 10 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through seaborne transport, export processing zones, ocean extractive resource exploitation and development of the Blue Economy.
The report also highlights the partnership between NIMASA and the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide ship financing at a single digit interest rate and the enthronement of a functional regulatory and investment environment.