How Nigeria can actualise its maritime potential — Binay Singh

What comes to your mind when you think of Nigeria? Is it how massive and populated Nigeria is? It is not just the most populous nation in Africa, but it is also the most popular nation in Africa! What exactly is the most famous country in Africa renowned for across the globe? It is Oil.

Africa’s giant, Nigeria, remains the largest oil producer in Africa. Oil plays a major role in the country’s economy. On the other hand, Nigeria’s coastline stretches approximately 853 km and is apparently the richest in biodiversity and mineral resources. Nigeria is blessed with a vast coastline that many other countries could only wish they have. However, with so much diversity and richness of freshwater, natural gas, petroleum, iron, zinc, the region is still among the most degraded and less conserved.

Recently, I read an article that stated “Nigeria is a superpower with no power” and it made me think. Nigerians are found in every part of the globe greatly representing the nation in different sectors such as entertainment, education, and business. As a country, Nigeria has a lot to offer visitors with its own hidden treasures but why is it still not thriving?

The maritime industry in Nigeria since the early 1990s has been on a downturn pivot. Nigeria has no reason not to be a force to be reckoned with in the global maritime community. I see many challenges that are hindering Nigeria’s growth at the moment. However, years of neglect have damaged the system badly.

That said, the maritime sector is definitely going through a tough time but there are no challenges that are impossible to resolve.

Nigeria is very close to my heart. I see immense potential in the country. Its natural resources and the remarkable citizens of the country have the ability to change the dynamics of this world. I am a humble servant of the Maritime Industry and it’s my vision to see Nigerian citizens happy and successful. Keeping that in mind, I launched my company, Global Seafarer Recruitment – New Era of Seafarer (GSR) in Nigeria in 2020. Nigeria’s seafarers are unarguably among the best in the world and not utilizing their capabilities can be a big blow to Nigeria as a country.

There are a few areas the country must focus on. Below are some of my suggestions:

Due to a lack of education and international certification, the younger generation is unable to make use of their full potential. Education plays a vital role in the development of any country, especially where the population is dominated by the youth.

Lack of concrete fleet including training fleet-We need to emphasise the corrective and preventive measures to address this issue Lack of legal ground for the protection of seafarers – Seafarers play an essential role in international trade and supply chain. Therefore, the need to ensure the protection of their rights have become crucial in the wake of COVID-19 regardless of their nationality and that can’t be overemphasised. The amount of work done and risk exposure to ensure goods are transported safely from one country to another puts severe strain on the health and welfare of seafarers.

Lack of CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) – The CBA is the result of an extensive negotiation process between an employer and an employee regarding topics such as wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. This should be given utmost importance to prevent any issues at sea,

Also read: UNESCO, WAC sign agreement to boost quality assurance of higher education systems

Lack of proper maritime management – We have seen malpractices in the system due to neglect and it looked like nothing has been done in this sector. Several issues faced by the shipping industry have made seafarers’ lives at sea extremely difficult. The methods in which several issues are being handled by the maritime authorities have led to the aggravation of problems that need to be solved as soon as possible.

Though every system has issues and any system can be changed, but we must understand that these conflicts are not only hampering one nation but the entire globe. . Our future is our youth. We are at a crisis point in relations to the world’s young people and Nigeria is an example of this.

My advice to the youth in Nigeria is – Spend your time wisely. Take up courses that will enhance your capabilities both personally and professionally. My mission and vision in life are to serve this eponymous industry and create 100% employment for seafarers across the globe. Fostering the dreams of these young seafarers is my dream.

Some people don’t believe in giving opportunities to others and helping them. I believe I can help myself by helping others. The world can never flourish if we don’t work as a team. Ukraine, India, Nigeria or The Philippines will remain just another country if we the people will not take action and change it for the world to see that together we are great!

Vanguard News Nigeria 

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