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HOME / Column / Features / STRONGER DELTA
Plan For Recovery: Analysis Of Okowa’s Experience In Prosperity Creation
Published Jan 30, 2023 IN Column, Features, STRONGER DELTA,
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IF total recovery is what Nigeria badly needs in the light of the prevailing national malaise, for PDP Vice Presidential hopeful come May 29, 2023 and Delta State Gov­ernor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, it can be said that charity begins at home, as he had, in the last seven years plus, exemplified this leadership experience across the length and breadth of Delta State, thus vividly exemplifying an economically sensible develop­ment policy/plan to deliver the Nigerian economy from the woods starting 2023. Governor Okowa’s rich experience comes from Delta’s sustainable growth, despite the vul­nerabilities of the Nigerian economy and its structural weaknesses: what this means is that here in Delta State, there is an obvious respite from crashed national expectations, occasioned by the non-stop depen­dence on oil and gas for national revenue and main national export, as well as ceaseless borrowing do­mestically and internationally, in addition to poor economic decisions and development summersaults at the centre. But determined to turn rhetoric to lasting imprints on the economic landscape of Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa squared up to the national challenges, through a concrete application of domestic solutions, by among other things, a plausible move to industrialise the state.

To truly drive the envisioned in­dustrialisation, Okowa has innovat­ed a job and wealth cre­ation programme, small and medium enterprises’ development to increase non oil exports, focus on manufactured/non oil exports and revenue from the non oil sec­tors. Furthermore, there has been desired out­comes, leveraging on the Stronger Delta Agenda, to invest massively and genuinely in infrastruc­ture (power, roads, etc.), human capital develop­ment and research and development to generate new ideas and institu­tionalisation of a func­tional knowledge economy, for industrial development.

The Federal Government is advised to learn from Gov­ernor Okowa’s development programmes? Some of the numerous prongs of Okowa’s ongoing industrialisation mega plan are: Agro-industrial development, ‘Smart City’ development, Airport development and Gas-Based Industrial Park. Hence, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, as part of the social contract with Deltans, as represented by his popular electoral mandate, bade goodbye to oil dominance and ushered in a new era of non-oil boom- ever since, it has been a dawn of unforgettable years- during which he has midwifed an industrial revolution, as encapsulated by assorted structures, making his tenure as Governor of Delta State, the bedrock of a Stronger Delta, based on the utilisa­tion of all the God-given resources of the state, in full gear and in optimum capacity, so as to churn out the expected democratic dividends for the benefit of all Deltans, including employment generation, sustainable financial provisioning and general development across the economic sectors. What are some of the specific instruments of the current non oil drive, courtesy of Governor Okowa’s industrialisation agenda? - the Kwale Industrial Park (KIP), Agro Industrial/Processing Park at Aboh-Ogwashi-Uku, Asaba International Airport, the Film Village in Asaba, Delta State capital, the riverine floating markets, which truly became emerging economic nerve centres, as well as the export initiatives of the Okowa Administration, fed mainly through the skills set given to Deltans through different job and wealth creation programmes of the Delta State Government since May 29, 2015. For those who know about how long the people had lived under the stranglehold of a mono cultural economy, these efforts by Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, the Executive Governor Of Delta State, is seen to be rightly revolutionary, from conception to execu­tion, in latter and sprit of ideally reinventing the economy of the state.

Engaging in a dissection of the platforms created by Governor Okowa towards this poly cultural eco­nomic reality provides further proof of the clarity and soundness of his thoughts for a Stronger Delta State. Preceded by a road show in faraway China, at the auspices of the globally- thinking Delta State Government, the Kwale Industrial Park is the haven for methanol and transmission tower manufactur­ing companies. During the South-South Export Enlightenment and Engagement Forum, organised by the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) in conjunction with the Delta State Government, in Asaba, Governor Okowa made it clear that, “Our investment drive have started paying off; the Kwale Industrial Park, is located along the Ughelli-Asaba Expressway. It is expected to drive this administra­tion’s industrialisation agenda; the Kwale Indus­trial Park has the potential to be Nigeria’s biggest location for gas and energy intensive manufacturing, such as ceramics, rubber and methanol. I can confi­dently say that we engaged in a successful road show in China, to bring about the establishment of a methanol manufacturing plant at the Park, while pulp and paper will also be manufactured there. As a demonstration of our faith in the viability of the proj­ect and as an incentive to prospective investors, my administration approved a seed fund of 10 million dollars for partnership with interested investors at the Park. In the same token, the sum of five million dollars served as seed capital for the establishment of a transmission tower manufacturing plant, being promoted by ENFRASCO Limited.

“The tower manufacturing plant will be sited at Issele- Uku, comprising the establishment of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for power transmission, telecommu­nication masts, hot dip galvanising plant, tower testing, certification facility and research facility training school, with focus on fabrication and distribution know-how. This sort of commitment on the part of the state government serves to de-risk investments and give assurance to pro­spective investors.” A vintage Governor Okowa made it known that, “evidently, a distorted mono product econo­my does not bode well for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, particularly as oil is a depleting resource. It is as well significant to state that the advent of electric cars was a clear and still present danger to the future of sole oil dependence, hence, the urgent need for the governments in the Niger Delta region to expeditiously diversify their economies and maximise our non-oil ex­port potential. To achieve this, it is exigent that we first take full advantage of our unique location. In business, it is axiomatic that being in the right location is critical for success. Our natural location in the coastal region puts us in a prime position to engage in export-import trade; take Delta, for instance, it has four sea ports in Warri, Burutu, Sapele and Koko, whose combined capacity exceeds that of all the other ports in Nigeria put together. You can, therefore, imagine the quantum of trade and commerce, as well as the limitless possibilities that exist for invest­ment and employment opportunities when even some of the ports are fully functional.”

What should Deltans know about the Kwale Industrial Park? The Delta State Government, holding an Executive Council (EXCO) meeting, at Government House, Asaba, excitedly announced the approval of key infrastructural projects, including the full establishment of the Kwale Industrial Park in Ndokwa West Local Government Area. The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, had this to inform: “approval was given for the establish­ment of the multi-billion naira Kwale Industrial Park, with 25 per cent equity for the state government, while private operators would hold the remaining 75 per cent equity. The approval was a boost to the Industrial Park, but the process of which was slowed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we considered quite a number of projects and we are hopeful that in the course of the year, we will begin to give trends to most of those projects that are outlined in the 2021 Budget, as our 2021 Budget is fully operational. Hence, we started by approv­ing the establishment of the Kwale Industrial Park. That now means that we have a Multi-Purpose Vehicle through which we are going to implement the full establishment and operationalisation of that Industrial Park. This Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) being established in the name of the Kwale Industrial Park is going to be the government’s eye. It therefore, follows that government will hold, not more than 25 per cent equity stake and out of that figure, it will consider what is necessary to take care of host manufacturing plant for power transmission, telecommu­nication masts, hot dip galvanising plant, tower testing, certification facility and research facility training school, with focus on fabrication and distribution know-how. This sort of commitment on the part of the state government serves to de-risk investments and give assurance to pro­spective investors.” A vintage Governor Okowa made it known that, “evidently, a distorted mono product econo­my does not bode well for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, particularly as oil is a depleting resource. It is as well significant to state that the advent of electric cars was a clear and still present danger to the future of sole oil dependence, hence, the urgent need for the governments in the Niger Delta region to expeditiously diversify their economies and maximise our non-oil ex­port potential. To achieve this, it is exigent that we first take full advantage of our unique location. In business, it is axiomatic that being in the right location is critical for success. Our natural location in the coastal region puts us in a prime position to engage in export-import trade; take Delta, for instance, it has four sea ports in Warri, Burutu, Sapele and Koko, whose combined capacity exceeds that of all the other ports in Nigeria put together. You can, therefore, imagine the quantum of trade and commerce, as well as the limitless possibilities that exist for invest­ment and employment opportunities when even some of the ports are fully functional.”

What should Deltans know about the Kwale Industrial Park? The Delta State Government, holding an Executive Council (EXCO) meeting, at Government House, Asaba, excitedly announced the approval of key infrastructural projects, including the full establishment of the Kwale Industrial Park in Ndokwa West Local Government Area. The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, had this to inform: “approval was given for the establish­ment of the multi-billion naira Kwale Industrial Park, with 25 per cent equity for the state government, while private operators would hold the remaining 75 per cent equity. The approval was a boost to the Industrial Park, but the process of which was slowed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we considered quite a number of projects and we are hopeful that in the course of the year, we will begin to give trends to most of those projects that are outlined in the 2021 Budget, as our 2021 Budget is fully operational. Hence, we started by approv­ing the establishment of the Kwale Industrial Park. That now means that we have a Multi-Purpose Vehicle through which we are going to implement the full establishment and operationalisation of that Industrial Park. This Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) being established in the name of the Kwale Industrial Park is going to be the government’s eye. It therefore, follows that government will hold, not more than 25 per cent equity stake and out of that figure, it will consider what is necessary to take care of host communities.” Aniagwu clarified: “We are not holding it in trust for host communities because we are paying compensation for the land that we are acquiring.”

All in all, it was significant that the establishment and sustainability of the Kwale Industrial Park (KIP), was described as pivotal to the Stronger Delta vision of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Indeed, the benefits of the project are huge and would be witnessed on the long term. Hence, the disbursement of compensation to the host communities had been approved by the State Executive Council. As it was gathered, “the Ministry of Lands and Survey had the responsibility of making the disbursements to the affected communities, in line with the demarcation and delineation exercise, which they carried out. The process entailed that is was after the payment of compensation that government will take possession of the land. In addition to the payment of compensation, next was a Memorandum of Understand­ing (MOU) agreement with the communities, so as to ensure employment opportunities, as well as security for the KIP, to aid its sustainability.” In his remarks, the Chairman of the Delta State House of Assembly Commit­tee on Trade and Investments, Hon. Matthew Opuomo, had pledged the support of the House in providing the legislative framework for the KIP. “On our part, we are ready to provide legislative framework to sustain the good initiatives of government. We call for synergy between the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agen­cies of government, saddled with the responsibilities of trade, industries and investments, to ensure proper coordination. There is a need to bridge the communica­tion gap existing among these agencies, so as to promote coordination and understanding in the execution of government policies and programmes generally.” To reiterate the pertinent issue of funding, a pledge for the release $10 million was made for the completion of the Kwale Industrial Park. Governor Okowa spoke in Shenyang, China, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and a Chinese agricultural company, to grow soya bean at the facility. There, he outlined the vision of the state government for an aggressive industrialisation agenda. “I am here personally and along with key members of the State Executive Council and legislators, as a sign of our commitment to this initiative. Nigeria is open for business and I make bold to say that the Kwale Industrial Park is a compelling investment choice. In Delta, we are working relentlessly to make Kwale the most investor-friendly location in Nigeria. It is a peaceful community and the support of the community is already assured. On the incentives, my administration floated a $10 million fund to support investors in bringing the park into being. The money will be utilised as a counterpart start-up eq­uity fund from the state government to enable investors partially de-risk their investments. I am confident that some of you who have existing plants will find such eq­uity contributions helpful in kick starting your ventures in the park.” Okowa had also said that, “Delta State is also looking forward to collaborating with the Province of Liaoning on a strategic partnership. We believe that such government-to-government partnership will be a confidence booster for prospective investors and we assure them of the security of their investments.” As a sign of national endorsement, it would be recalled that in his remarks, Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Baba Jidda, lauded the governor’s initiative and challenged other states to emulate Okowa’s industrialisation moves for the development of the nation at large.

To give Governor Okowa’s masterstroke through the KIP even greater appraisal, it is a gas based indus­trial park – with a strategic aspiration to leverage Delta State’s abundant natural gas reserves base, so as to cre­ate wealth through industrialisation. It is an Industrial Park with the most competitive and secured access to natural gas and power in Nigeria. Specifically, it would enable energy intensive light and medium manufactur­ing industries, with its unique and bespoke competitive advantages for both local and international markets. The KIP is Nigeria’s largest single site location for light and medium manufacturing and Africa’s regional hub for tar­get industry sub-sectors, to transform abundant gas re­serves to unique competitive edge for industries. The KIP is locally and globally positioned in Kwale area of Delta State, about 487.2 km from Lagos and 139 km North of Warri. The Park spans a minimum of 5-10 km2 with sig­nificant scope for expansion. It has competitive energy cost to attract target industries, the most competitive gas and power costs, for the target sectors - energy intensive industries, ceramics, steel, other light manufacturing industries, with its reliable and uninterruptible energy supply strategy and diverse, integrated and competitive gas and power sources. It also has unparalleled energy security strategy and bespoke fiscal and non fiscal Incentives. The sector specific incentives are the most compelling competitive advantages, be­ing a ‘One Stop Shop’ window and simplified processes to enable rapid set up of investment in a world class, secure, urban area, which is a residential and commercial hub. Indeed, the Okowa Administration beats its chest to say that the KIP is positioned to be Nigeria’s most desired location for manufacturing activities.

A fact check on Governor Okowa’s robust manifesto demon­strated that it is in line with his administration’s commitment to the speedy industrialisation of Delta State, thus he has assured prospective investors in the Kwale Industrial Park of quick returns on investment. To one of very many brides, Temple Energy and Gas Invest, Governor Okowa reiterated that the park is meant to translate the gas resources in the state to give it an industrial edge. “From the analysis given, all is set for investors to come in and I am confident that from the materials available and the conducive environ­ment for industries to thrive, potential investors will get a quick return on their investments. As a government, I want to reassure you of our commitment to the park. I want to guarantee that we will be with you every step of the way for the best results to be achieved for our people and our country. Based on the numerous benefits deriv­able from the park, which is in line with my administra­tion’s desire for a prosperous and Stronger Delta State, our people will be employed and a lot of socio-economic activities will go on across the state, as a result of the park; as a government, we will continue to do our best for the desired results to be achieved.” Not a few development watchers took the success of the Park for granted, as if they preferred to err on the side of abundant optimism; nonetheless, it was brought down to the facts on ground-the park has unique attributes to attract investors, while over 75, 000 jobs would be created.

The Delta State Government also took the drive for its in­dustrial revolution to the United States of America. It was a sign that it is poised to provide an enabling environment for investors to invest in the Kwale Industrial Park (KIP) and make the state a commercial nerve centre in Africa. This assurance was give at the 2019 USA/Nigeria Business and Investments Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Many know of the state’s readiness for the project, with highlights and the viability of the KIP. It has educated prospective investors on the advantages of investing in the Park, with huge deposits of oil and gas in the area and the proximity of the park to oil and gas pipelines, which are added advantages. The Kwale Industrial Park, which is less than one hour drive, on a dual carriage way from Asaba International Airport, is a better choice with more attractions from the huge deposits of oil and gas in the area and the proximity of the park to oil and gas pipelines. All these are indeed, added advantages to the investors. Hence, the state is continuously soliciting for a more cordial relationship with the international communities in the area of doing business, a reason the State Gover­nor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, set aside $10 million to encourage early entrance investors to the Industrial Park sitting on 1, 000 hectares of land. Already, excited host communities are ready to co-operate with investors, as the state is blessed with needed raw materials for their products and market for same products. Their excitements stem from the fact that the park guarantees employment creation for the teeming youths in the state, as it will make the state a commercial nerve centre in Africa. The immense benefits are all due to the fact that the present administration is diversifying the state’s economy from oil and gas. That had led to a lot of programmes being put in place to woo and to encourage entrepreneurs and investors to come to Delta State.

In a different vein, approval was also given for the sec­ond Agricultural Policy of the state government, to boost the Agricultural sector in the state. The strategic goals of agricultural development in Delta State are agricultural transformation, economic diversification, job creation, wealth generation and fiscal stabilisation, while the prior­ity target commodities are cassava, rice, oil palm, aquacul­ture, vegetables, including tomato, among others, as well as maize and other cereals. Stemming from this, the Agro Industrial Park at Aboh-Ogwashi-Ogwashi-Uku, is a cus­tomised factory of plots alongside common infrastructure, facilities and logistics – a hub covering about 70 hectares. The Integrated Rice Project consists of a rice processing factory serviced by irrigated rice farm and rain-fed rice farms in catchment areas. The Aboh-Ogwashi-Uku Agro Industrial Park presents investment opportunities in 25 prospective agro-products: milled rice and derivatives, cassava chips, flour, starch and gari. Others are banana/ plantain flour and related products, palm oil and palm oil based products, fish, processed fish and related products, wood, paper pulp, wood based products, milk and milk-based products, processed beef, broilers, pork and related products, fresh and processed vegetables. The feasibility study and business plan was completed, hence, the finan­cial and economic appraisals showed profitability and viability (self-paying, while land for the agro-industrial park already acquired and land for outgrower scheme already designated/secured. Also, the Technical Partner/ Anchor Investor and Private Investor are already secured and international finance already identified. Its project development, included engineering, architectural and infrastructure design and physical planning, as well as a developed financial package for international lenders, along with PPP Agreements. It was midwifed to deliver one-stop shop services to agro industrial processors. Informing from the spot, Commissioner for Informa­tion in the state, Charles Aniagwu, surmised that the project was one of the serious efforts of the Delta State Government geared towards diversification of the state’s economy. Hear him: “You will recall that during our elec­tioneering campaign in our first tenure, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa came out with an acronym: SMART Agenda, which included Agricultural Reforms and Accelerated Industrialisation. Aniagwu: “Government after govern­ments had continued to preach diversification without doing much in that direction, but the development of the Agro-Industrial Park in Aboh-Ogwashi-Uku is a step towards diversification of the state’s economy beyond oil revenues. It is because we have a comparative advantage in agriculture in Delta and the Governor, in his insightful­ness and dept of governance capacity, recognises this and deemed it fit to set up this Agro-Industrial Park.” It was not mere witticism, when Aniagwu added: “with the high-powered Committee, you will realise that it is not a tea party.” It could not be farther from the truth- he said: “It will benefit all Deltans irrespective of their location, because everybody involved in agricultural production can bring their products for processing. This project is a very good step in diversifying the economy through the Agricultural sector.” Chairman of the Implementa­tion Committee, Eric Eboh, a Professor of note and the state’s Chief Job and Wealth Creator, confirmed that no stone was left unturned when he said that the project inspection was designed to assess the state of work in relation to the overall work plan of the project. On the road to its delivery, it went through rigorous feasibility, appraisal and analysis, both nationally and internation­ally, with over three foreign banks competing to fund the project. Eboh had this to say: “As you are already aware, the Agro-Industrial Park is one of the major flagships of the Okowa administration. The project went through international validation by three banks as viable and self-sustaining, hence, the agricultural value chain will never be the same again in Delta. It is meant to be a game-changer and a one-stop-shop for agro-processing for domestic consumption and export.

For a synopsis, the project had 18 months comple­tion timeline and the Ogwashi-Uku dam was one of the key criteria for the location of the Agro-Industrial Park. The idea for the project started three years ago. Today, it sits on a landed area, comprising 220 hectares, with 100 hectares of rice farm as the anchor project. There is no gainsaying the fact that it is an investor’s delight, with the assurance of constant electricity and water supply in the park. It would be reiterated that during the feasibility study that was carried out, the present site was chosen as most suitable because of the water bodies in the area. But the central portion is the engine room for commercial plots of 1.5 hectares of land for agro-industrial investments. However, the Park Centre is the lifeblood and the epicentre of the Agro-Industrial Park: it has the rice plant, warehouses, residential areas, hospitality facilities and centres for conferences, training and seminars, as well as research and quality control laboratory. There is a lake of 1.4cubic meters of water to sustain the project all year round, including the dam and potentials for generating electricity. It would suffix to state that it is in good hands- the Delta State Agro- Industrial Park Limited, with Delta State having 40 per cent, MRG 30 per cent and Norsworthy Investments another 30 per cent.”

In addition, the Delta International Commercial City Asaba (DICCA), is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) estab­lished to accommodate the Public Private Partners (PPP) to develop 366 hectares of virgin land that is straddled in between the existing and the proposed second Niger Bridge in Asaba, Delta State, as a gateway to the South East and South South. The DICCA Limited SPV is seeking Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) partner investors to undertake specific developments within the new city. The strategic overview is to focus on driving economic growth and urban regeneration and vision to have a place where people want to live, work, play and invest. It is sandwiched between two states –Delta and Anam­bra, with a cumulative Population of 11 million people, apart from the high transit population as a gate way to the South East, with its attendant high commercial activities. Located on prime 366 hectares site along the Benin – Asaba Expressway; it is 10 minutes drive from the Asaba International Airport to the west and Onitsha market (largest commercial hub in West Africa) to the East; it is delivered in partnership with private sector players through the Delta International Commercial City Asaba Limited (DICCA); while a Spatial Master Plan (SMP) had been concluded; as well as land title issued to the SPV. Expected investment in Phase 1 of four years, is $4 billion.

The Asaba International Airport is a Brownfield Asset, which was concessioned by the Delta State Government, for sound economic reasons. It is located on 659 hectares of prime land and is of international standard. The run way length is of 3.4 km and a Taxi way of 1.73 km. Its blast pad is 5,000 sqm and 3,500 sqm of Terminal build­ing, 4, 900 sqm of Apron, car park for 1,000 cars and state-of-the-art Control Tower. It is centrally located and close to the South South and South East. Specifically, it is contiguous to commercial and industrial cities, such as Onitsha and Nnewi, while it was developed as an eco­nomic hub for support services in the oil and gas indus­tries operating in the Niger Delta Region. Significantly, the Asaba International Airport beckons on investors in prime areas of cargo/air freight processing, having been licensed as a cargo international airport, cargo terminal and logistics, business park, tank farm, hotel/conferenc­ing and in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), all of which come with guaranteed huge profitability, given the enumerated comparative advantages of the airport.

With his exposure to the international leadership set­ting, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has also impacted on Nol­lywood via the Asaba Film Village. As discussed earlier, Governor Okowa sees Nigeria’s Own Nollywood as the geese that could lay the golden egg, here in Delta State. Hence, the actualisation of his quest to build a world class Film Village in Asaba, the state capital. Tourism is one of the world’s greatest revenue earners, thus, many have identified with the Governor’s dreams to make Delta the leading movie hub in West Africa, such that when it is completed soon, it will attract world class studios, who will come to partner with the biggest movie producers in Nigeria and make the Asaba Film Village the highest employer of labour in West Africa as a whole. The movie practitioners could see what is coming their way and one of them had this to say: “We wish to go with Delta through this project. We want to be integrated into the state’s tourism potentials, so that together we can make Delta the hub of the movie industry in West Africa.” In­deed, the film village in Asaba, built to the last kobo by the Delta State Government, will boost productivity of movie directors. “In terms of creativity, the film village will boost our productions, in particular, the opportunity to recreate anything that the mind can conjecture and that alone is a huge boost to what it takes to achieve the creative part of film making. Nigerians were known to fly abroad, even to South Africa for high tech, multi tech back up, but this is going to be here in our doorstep in Asaba and for the projection and the evolution of the industry, this is so timely. The industry has been evolving and this is bringing a new lease of life to the industry and we are being reborn in Delta State. We can now say Nollywood is in Asaba because it will have the availability of technology, which includes high end equipment, high end production facilities, among others. We are particularly happy for having everything gathered together in one spot- this has been a major challenge and we had been crying out for this.” Indeed, Governor Okowa had wiped their tears. Little wonder, someone else quipped: “Now the vision is clear. It’s indeed a vision for Nigeria, West Africa and Africa and this alone is a big kudos to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and all those working with him to achieve this feat.” In his constant humility and fatherly role, Governor Okowa, in his remarks, had thanked the movie producers for coming back home to contribute to the development of the state, while he assured that his administration will partner with them to make Delta State a tourism destination. “Let me welcome you all to Delta and I express my excitement because Deltans have done quite a lot in the movie and entertainment industry. We thank you for returning home, having contributed a lot to Delta. I am glad that you have gone to the Film Village alongside a Pleasure Park. We are aware that most movies in Nigeria are shot in Delta and Asaba to be precise. The importance of the entertainment industry in job creation and economic development of Delta State cannot be over emphasised. It is a functional movie village and with time, we will partner with the private sector to manage the Film Village.

In another prong of its investment and business creation, the Delta State Executive Council (Exco), approved the sum of N4 billion for the construction of Ogheye Ultra Modern Concrete Floating Market project. Commissioner for In­formation, Charles Aniagwu, informed that the market is huge, much more than the set N4 billion, bearing its pecu­liar nature. It is located in Warri North Local Government Area and sits on water with all the necessary facilities. At the same time, Exco had approved programmes initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology to equip the youths with requisite skills in Information Communica­tion Technology (ICT), which is undoubtedly, another viable non-oil area. But Ogheye is an ultra modern float­ing market, while the state government noted that the project would not just boost the local economy of Delta State, but also the economies of its neighbouring states, especially Ondo State. It was noted that the proximity of some communities in Ondo State to the floating market in Warri North LGA, would give them the economic benefits of contiguity. Ondo riverside communities to Ogheye are about only 15 minutes. The market comprises 90 lock up shops and 86 open stalls. Electricity to the market is from a huge generator in the market, that also has public toilets and a Police Post meant to ward off possible sea pirates and other criminals in the area. It is on a massive platform at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. It is tied in such a way that no matter the waves, it will remain stable. The market had been there over the years, but it was built on planks. So, every six months, the market operators had to change the planks. Now, the Okowa Administration has put a permanent structure in that place. Another thing-the floating market is of great economic value, not only to the people selling in that area, but also communities in the neighbouring states. Fishing is the major occupation of the people in that locality, so building units for preserving fish and units for drying fish are part of the market. If one visited the place in the past, they would have seen fishes wasting; but it’s now a thing of the past. It was handled by three ministries- the Ministry of Works was responsible for the platform, the Ministry of Housing was responsible for the erection of the stores, public toilets, Police Post and the likes, while the Ministry of Trade and Investments also played a significant part. The good thing for economic diversification is the obvious tourism potentials of the floating market, which would be capital intensive, due to distance from the main land.

In furtherance of the investment opportunities in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa said that, “Our Vi­sion is to make Delta State a Pacesetter in the Nigerian Federation”, with the following ‘Comparative Advantages’: a coastal state of four sea ports, rich vegetation and fertile soil suitable for agricultural practices, strategically located and a gateway to the highly commercialised South East and other parts of the South South, young, vibrant, educated and active population and sustained investment in security by the Okowa Administration to create a safe and secure environment. Towards an improved business competitive environment, the state government has in place, a land fast track processing system and a Land Bank; the Delta Investments Development Agency (DIDA), to leverage business and investments, as well as general ease of do­ing business, simplified tax administration system, ease in obtaining construction permit and improved processes for Public, Private Participation, while not discounting the role played by a robust justice delivery system in Delta State.

Indeed, a Stronger Delta State meant rethinking the direction towards rapid industrialisation, in the manner of Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Governor of Delta State. He has given vent to the God-given resources of the state and built a knowledge based economy, to fully utilise human and material resources for the creation of Prosperity. Governor Okowa, by his every move on a fully industrialised state, has proven that a dual cultural economy in Delta State, which relies on multiple and sus­tainable sources of revenue is not an El Dorado of sorts, but now largely present in a Stronger Delta State, where Prosperity is being created and entrenched, for all Deltans, as he moves on, God willing, to a higher national assign­ment in 2023.

 

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2023: My Chances Are Very Bright —Oborevwori
Jan 24, 2023
How Sustainable Is Nigeria’s Public Debt?
Jan 20, 2023
Noise Pollution And Its Effect On The Public
Jan 19, 2023
FG Paying Fuel Subsidy Amidst Escalating Scarcity
Jan 19, 2023
Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Building Team Work Through Paintball
Jan 19, 2023
Implementing VAPP Law In Plateau To Check Hurtful Practices Against Widows
Jan 18, 2023
New Motor Insurance Policy: Matters Arising
Jan 16, 2023
PVCs Collection: A Tale Of Many Parts
Jan 14, 2023
Biden’s Charge To African Leaders On Free, Fair Elections
Jan 09, 2023
STRONGER DELTA
Okowa’s Promised Realisation Of A Better Dawn In The Niger Delta
Jan 24, 2023
How ‘Finishing Strong’ Agenda Qualifies Okowa For VP Slot, Higher National Assignment
Jan 17, 2023
How Okowa Is Preparing Delta For Prosperity Beyond 2023
Dec 27, 2022
Okowa’s Legacy Projects: Koka Flyover, Many Others And The Need For Continuity
Dec 20, 2022
Okowa’s Infrastructure Model: A Solid Plan For National Recovery Okowa’s Infrastructure Model: Solid Plan For National Recovery
Dec 13, 2022
The Niger Delta Question And Okowa’s Recipe For A Better Region
Nov 22, 2022
Asaba Stadium And Projects’ Delivery In General: Separating Facts From Fiction
Nov 15, 2022
Proofs That Okowa’s Fulfilling Promises, Deserving Of VP’s Role
Nov 08, 2022
Okowa’s Lessons For Nigeria On Creating A Productive Economy
Nov 01, 2022
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