Nigeria has a total of about 8,600 km of inland waterways, the second longest in the entire continent of Africa; this comprises an extensive coastline of about 800 kilometers.
The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) on Monday urged foreign investors to tap into Nigeria’s vast maritime resources to expand their businesses and grow local and global commerce.
The President of SOAN, Mr Greg Ogbeifun, who is also the Chairman of Starzs Marine and Engineering Ltd, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said the maritime industry in Nigeria had huge opportunities for investments and growth which investors could take advantage of to the greater economic benefit for all stakeholders.
Ogbeifun said the opportunities were available in the various sub-sectors of the nation’s maritime industry and would continue to maintain their economic relevance.
"The Nigerian maritime sector will remain relevant for the economic prosperity and development of most nations because of its abundant mineral resources and huge maritime ecosystem.
"In this vein, Nigeria’s maritime environment, which spans about 84,000 square meters is of strategic importance to the nation on account of the huge deposits of mineral resources and marine life it offers.
"It is a known fact that there are vast resources in Nigeria’s maritime environment ranging from hydrocarbons to living and non-living resources most of which have remained untapped.
"Nigeria has a total of about 8,600 km of inland waterways, the second longest in the entire continent of Africa; this comprises an extensive coastline of about 800 kilometers.
"These therefore, avails a variety of investment potential and opportunities cutting across shipping, mining, manufacturing and services industries,” the SOAN President said.
Ogbeifun said that his paper titled "The Shipping and Maritime Industry in Nigeria: Opportunities and Challenges’’, delivered at the recent Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in Malta, highlighted the wealth of Nigeria’s maritime resources.
The paper, he said, said that Nigeria’s maritime environment would continue to be a veritable platform for transportation, global commerce, resource exploitation and recreation.
He said the Maritime Commonwealth Session, which was hosted by the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), was part of the business calendar of the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Ogbeifun said his presentation also made it clear that it had become inevitable that developed nations within the Commonwealth family partnered the developing nations on ways possible to drive investments and development.
He said he used the platform to debunk negative media reports; local and international, portraying Nigeria as a "no-go area’’ for foreign investors owing to a number of unsubstantiated reasons driven by selfish interests.