The recent appointments at the The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has vowed to work with the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Authority (OGFTZA), on the construction of Niger Delta Industrial Parks.
Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, Managing Director of the NDDC, made the assurance during a courtesy visit to the Commission’s offices in Port Harcourt by a group from the OGFTZA led by its Managing Director, Senator Tijani Kaura.
Because of their multiplying effects, industrial parks, according to Ogbuku, occupy a vital place in the value chain of sustainable development. “Having industrial parks is very important in the development of a society like ours,” he remarked. Collaboration to create an Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Park would be extremely beneficial. It will lower the cost of production in the industries and businesses that we hope to bring to the Niger Delta region. It will also encourage entrepreneurs.”
He said further: “Having industries in one park comes with a lot of advantages for both the companies and the people of the region. We need industrialisation in the region in order to create job opportunities for our youths and women.”
Ogbuku said he was confident that a partnership with OGFTZA in the development of Industrial Parks would promote investment and economic development for creating wealth and employment in the Niger Delta region.
He observed that working with different organisations for development purposes had been very successful, noting: “It only proves that our quest for partnership, which has been our core policy focus, is working. On assumption of office, we realised that due to the dwindling funds, it would be very difficult for us to actualise the desired development of the Niger Delta region on our own.”
According to him, “The Niger Delta is in dire need of development. NDDC, being the vehicle that drives development in the region, must not depend on only one source of funds. Over the years, we have depended on contributions from the Federal Government and International Oil Companies, IOCs, as our only means of driving development. Right now, we believe partnering with corporate bodies and government agencies will fast-track and accelerate development in the Niger Delta region.”
The NDDC boss stated that the Commission was looking beyond the era of oil and gas. We are tilting towards agriculture and information technology. So, we need to provide the necessary facilities and incorporate a technology hub in the industrial park for IT experts in the region. This will encourage various technology-based organisations to set up in the Niger Delta. We are looking at a future Silicone Valley in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the OGFTZA, Senator Kaura, noted that both his organisation and the NDDC occupy strategic positions in driving sustainable development in the Niger Delta region, making it imperative for both agencies to work together.
Kaura noted that both agencies should complement each other in the discharge of their duties, stressing the need for collaboration between the NDDC and OGFTZA in the establishment of Industrial Parks.
He remarked that Industrial Parks would accelerate development in the Niger Delta region, adding: “It is going to be a win-win situation for the NDDC and OGFTZA, as it will ensure wealth creation, engage the youths and reduce restiveness in the Niger Delta region.”