‘It ‘s embarrassing only in Nigeria crude oil is stolen’,says President Jonathan



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President Goodluck Jonathan has described as embarrassing the fact that it is only in Nigeria that crude oil is stolen.He made this remark  at the Presidential Maritime Security Retreat in Abuja  on Monday .He therefore  told the participants at the retreat, “In your deliberations, you must place focus on evolving a strong intelligence base and information gathering system, and measures so that crude oil theft is completely eliminated.The strengthening of regulatory oversight and deepening Inter-Agency partnership should also engage your attention.

The president pointed said said “It is embarrassing that it is only in Nigeria that crude oil is stolen. We will be decisive in putting an end to this malaise.Our charge to all relevant agencies and departments of government is to work cooperatively with the required urgency this challenge deserves.”

Jonathan added, “Given its importance in the national economy, we have an uncompromising obligation to safeguard our territorial waters against all threats:poaching, piracy, pipeline vandalism, coastal insecurity, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, non-payment of statutory levies and charges, illegal entry of ships into our territorial waters, illegal importation of arms and hard drugs, among other sundry crimes.”

Read the president’s speech below:

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT GOODLUCKEBELE JONATHAN, GCFR, AT THE PRESIDENTIAL MARITIME SECURITY RETREAT, ABUJA, ON MONDAY JULY 23RD, 2012

PROTOCOL,I am pleased to convene this retreat with the theme “Harnessing the Potential of Nigeria’s Maritime Sector for Sustainable Economic Development”. The Coordinating Minister of the Economy/Honourable Minister of Finance, in collaboration with her colleagues in the cabinet, was requested to organise series of workshops where key issues in the priority sectors of the economy would be addressed.

The workshops were alsoto enable us assess progress, review challenges,chart a realistic way forward and where necessary, indicate timelines for the attainment of set goals.

You would all recall that we had our first workshop on the progress of our Economy, and this was followed by a sectoral workshop on power.This workshop on the maritime sector, will like previous workshops agree on timelines for the attainment of specific milestones. It is my expectation that we shall take advantage of this occasion to address the challenges in the maritime sector, proffer workable solutions and set achievable targets.

The maritime sector is a critical component in the economic development of a modern state. It is in this regard that we incorporated it as a major component of our Transformation Agenda. The sector without doubt, facilitates approximately 90% of world trade, creates millions of jobs and generates billions of dollars in economic output. The sector, to say the least, is a major engine in our national growth strategy.

Our maritime industry helped to enhance our position as a regional leader in several areas. Besides improved prospects in traditional sea-related activities such as fishing, shipping, ship-building and repairs, agriculture and tourism, the sector is a major hub in offshore oil exploration and production activities and will remain so in the foreseeable future.

Given its importance in the national economy, wehave an uncompromising obligation to safeguard our territorial waters against all threats:poaching, piracy, pipeline vandalism, coastal insecurity, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, non-payment of statutory levies and charges, illegal entry of ships into our territorial waters, illegal importation of arms and hard drugs, among other sundry crimes.

Even though it is generally known that the West African coast has the richest fishery resourcesin Africa, our inability to take advantage of our endowment has been attributed to inadequate law enforcement and industry capacity.

The cost of piracy to our economy is unacceptably high. Pirates frustrate fishing activities and threaten investments in the West African Coast. Higher insurance premiums and charges on ships sailing along the Gulf of Guinea impact negatively on our economy and image.

Similarly, pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft result in serious loss of revenue to Government even as maritime environmental degradation from such disasters affect our people and well-being.

Government is determined to reverse this situation. We will protect our natural resources and ensure their sustainable use for the benefit of present and future generations.

To this end, the Maritime Operations Coordinating Committee is already working to address all illegalities in the maritime domain. The Committee comprises all maritime agencies, Ministries of Transport, Finance and Justice. Also, a sustainable patrol arrangement to enhance collection of revenue and ensure maritime safety has also been approved. We are encouraging an integrated port security system in all the ports for maximum result.

The amnesty programme is yielding the desired fruits as typified in improved security along the coasts, in offshore oil infrastructure, capacity development, and job creation. We have recently streamlined and simplified ports operational and administrative procedures.

While these efforts are producing positive outcome, they are not enough.More needs to be done. This workshop provides opportunity to capitalize on the gains so far made and to find durable solutions to the challenges in the maritime sector.

In your deliberations, you must place focus on evolving a strong intelligence base and information gathering system, and measures so that crude oil theft is completelyeliminated.The strengthening of regulatory oversight and deepening Inter-Agency partnership should also engage your attention.

It is embarrassing that it is only in Nigeria that crude oil is stolen. We will be decisive in putting an end to this malaise.Our charge to all relevant agencies and departments of government is to work cooperatively with the required urgency this challenge deserves.

I requestparticipants to this workshop tocome up with deliverables that provide details on roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and timelines for harnessing the huge potentials in the maritime sector so that our losses will, in the shortest possible time, be converted to our net gains.

Our country men and women are looking forward to a better managed and result-oriented maritime sector. We cannot afford to disappoint our people. The area of institutions for capacity building in the maritime industry needs to be properly examined. This time, I expect Nigeria to have some of the best maritime academy for training our people and also for the people of the sub-region.

I thank you.


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