Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Tuesday said that it has become very urgent for the Niger Delta regional governments to diversify their economy by maximally utilizing the non-oil exports potentials.
The governor made the call while delivering a keynote address at the inception of a 3-Day NEXIM Bank, South -South Enlightenment and Engagement Forum in Asaba.
The workshop has as theme; “Maximizing Non-Oil Export Potentials in the South-South Region for Economic Growth”.
Okowa, who lauded the NEXIM Bank for the programme and financial support for investors in the non-oil sector, said that acquiring knowledge was key before accessing funds.
He said that oil is a depleting resource, adding that the advent of electric cars was a signal that the danger the country would face in the near future unless proactive measures were taken to diversify the economy.
“Hence the urgent need for the governments in the Niger Delta region to expeditiously diversify the economy and maximse our non- oil export potentials for accelerated economic development.
“To achieve this, it is exigent that we first take dull advantage of our unique location in business, our natural location in the coastal region puts us in a position to engage in export activities.
“Take Delta State for instance, it has four seaports in Warri, Burutu, Sapele, and Moko which combined capacity exceeds that of all the ports in Nigeria put together.
“You can, therefore imagine the quantum of trade and commerce as well as the limitless possibilities that exist for investors and employment opportunities when just two of the ports are fully functional,” Okowa said.
He said while the Federal Government has commenced the dredging of the Escravos Bar, the state is taking steps to bring the Burutu Port to life.
“Meanwhile, we are in the process of executing the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal Project in partnership with LNG Technology Limited of South Africa for the production and export of LNG from Delta to South Africa.
“Delta state is blessed with minerals rich vegetation, good ecology and fertile soil and in addition to having comparative advantage in agriculture; cassava, rice and oil palm, we embarked on pilot scheme of of producing high quality Carri for export to the United Kingdom,” Okowa stressed.
He said that the state government was partnering with other international investors to build the Kwale Indutrial Park and the Ogwashi Uku Agro-Industrial Parks to boost the non-oil sector, create employment and boost the state economy.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo, who also address the forum lauded the organizers of the programme and expressed his administration’s comment to diversifying the state economy.
He said that his administration has committed much more resources to ensure that it becomes number one in oil palm production by reversing the trend from being dependent on crude oil economy.
He said that as a state government its investment in the power sector was already yielding results to ensure a stable and more reliable power supply to make Edo a safe haven for investors.
The highpoint of the occasion was when Governors Okowa and Obaseki, in the company of the Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abubakar Bello and other official and stakeholders inspect the exhibition stand at he venue of the event.