Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is poised to join effort with the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Authority, OGFTZA, to turn around the fortunes of the Niger Delta through the development of Industrial Parks. NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, made the commitment during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the OGFTZA, led by its Managing Director, Senator Tijani Kaura at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt. Ogbuku explained that Industrial Parks occupy a strategic position in sustainable development value chain because of their multiplier effects. He said: “Having industrial parks is very key in the development of a society like ours. Partnering to have an Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Park would achieve a lot. It will reduce the cost of production in the industries and enterprises that we intend to attract to the Niger Delta region. It will also promote entrepreneurship.”
According to him, “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 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. “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. 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 for funds. Over the years, we have depended on contributions from the Federal Government and International Oil Companies, IOCs, as our only means for 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.” Kaura called for the setting up of a Technical Committee to work out the details of the partnership between the NDDC and OGFTZA on the Industrial Parks initiative.