By Aisha Cole
Lagos – President Muhammadu Buhari will hold meeting with the Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA) on April 20 in Abuja, toward maximising the economic potential of the continent’s oceans.
According to a statement by the Head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA, Mr Isichei Osamgbi on Sunday, the meeting will be part of AAMA’s conference being organised by NIMASA and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Osamgbi said the meeting would attract 32 African countries as well as other maritime nations outside Africa, including the representatives of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and major shipping line operators.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AAMA is an umbrella body of five African maritime stakeholders’ groups.
The groups are: Association of Maritime Administrations of Africa, Africa’s Ship Registry Forum, African Ship Owners Association, Africa Shippers’ Council and Seafarers’ Forum.
AAMA was formed following the signing of the African Transport and Maritime Charter in 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The aim of the association is to promote the development of Africa’s maritime regulatory and maritime environment.
“Interest is growing in the maritime industry and there is need to evolve a stronger economy by boosting non-oil revenue as a major source of the Buhari’s economic policy thrust.
“Hence, the Federal Government’s huge interest in encouraging greater cooperation among African nation to enable them make the best use of the opportunity,’’ he said.
Osamgbi noted that President Buhari had earlier approved the participation of Nigeria through NIMASA in the IMO Council election coming up later in the year.
He said the Management of NIMASA would also hold strategic sessions to obtain adequate support for Nigeria’s bid for category `C’ seat on the IMO Council.
“The council is the highest decision making body of the IMO.
“Nigeria’s participation in the Council of the IMO will further add value to the economy through participation in critical decision-making sessions on global maritime affairs.
“Sitting on the council will further reinforce Nigeria’s leading role in the maritime industry in Africa,’’ Osamgbi said
He said the president would address the conference on certain policy directions of his administration concerning the maritime industry.
Osamgbi said Buhari would also unveil the new NIMASA brand at the event.
The Secretary-General of IMO, Mr Kitack Lim; the Chief Executive Officer of South African Maritime and Safety Agency (SAMSA), Sobaitu Tilayi, and representatives of Malaysian Maritime Authority and European Maritime Association will be at the conference.
Nigeria controls the highest cargo throughout the West and Central Africa region with over 200 million tonnes of cargo being handled annually.
No fewer than 6,000 ocean-going vessels called at Nigerian ports yearly.