The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, H.E. Adegboyega Oyetola, has presented a N10.9bn 2024 budget to the joint House Committees of the Senate on Marine Transport and the House of Representatives Committees on Ports and Harbour, Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Inland Waterways, and Shipping Services.
Oyetola made this known during his address to the joint House committees and the Senate at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
He stated that the proposed budget is to enable the newly created Ministry to perform its prime role of oversight and monitoring of the implementation of government policies across agencies under its purview in the marine and blue economy domains.
“You are aware that the 2024 budget is for economic growth; therefore, the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and its agencies under the 2024 budget seek to consider and sustain the achievements and performances recorded in the past years,” Oyetola outlined.
Speaking further, the Minister noted that the Ministry will place primacy on port infrastructural development by way of modernization of the Apapa and Tin Can ports that are dilapidated and have almost reached the end of life, while also having plans to rehabilitate the Eastern ports and equally dredging the inland and coastal waterways.
To realize these initiatives, Oyetola solicited the committees to appropriate needed funds as proposed in the budget of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Inland Waterways to facilitate the projects.
On the need for rehabilitation of the ports, the Minister stated that, as part of the 2006 Act enabling concession of the ports, the Federal Government still retains ownership of these ports, and it behoves them as landlords to continually ensure that the ports are best maintained and kept in an optimal state to enable usage and interest from the concessionaires.
Other focal areas the Minister noted would include maritime administration, building human capacity, and harping on effective technical and economic regulation that will ultimately ensure the strengthening of the blue economy in Nigeria.
He presented the Ministry’s budget, along with those of the agencies supervised by the Ministry, namely the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
He also informed the committee that the NPA, NIMASA, and NSC are fully self-funding and also make reasonable remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF/TSA).
He added that the MAN, Oron, NIWA, and CRFFN derive their funding from the federal government’s budget and internally generated revenue.
He also made note of the CRFFN’s appropriation for 2023, which was erroneously removed, and requested that the matter be revisited.
Spokesperson for the joint House Committees and the Senate, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Sen. Wasiu Sanni, in his opening remarks, stated that the 2024 budget defense also encompasses a performance review for 2023 which would provide adequate and further insight into propositions captured in the 2024 budget proposal.
He assured the Minister of the Heads of the NASS Committees’ commitment to necessary support needed by the maritime sector to perform optimally, as doing this translates to boosting remittances to the federation account as well as the overall gross domestic product (GDP) of the country