Ndubuisi Francis in Abujaâ€¨
The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ostim Industrial Park of Turkey for the establishment of industrial parks in the Niger Delta.
This is even as the minister, Godsday Orubebe, disclosed that as much as N3 trillion is needed to attain the kind of development desired in the oil-rich region
The parks, which are to host 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to manufacture and produce goods and services in over 100 different sectors/areas of the economy, will be a replica of the model in Ankara, Turkey.
Orubebe, who presented his scorecard in the last one year at the 2013 Ministerial Platform in Abuja on Thursday, said technical work on the parks had commenced, adding that some states in the region had already indicated interest.
The minister stated that work on the dualisation of the East-West Road; remediation, reclamation and remediation work; construction of skills acquisition centres, and building of housing units by the ministry in the nine states of the Niger Delta had created jobs for over 9,000 people in the region.
Orubebe said due to the budgetary constraints facing his ministry in the implementation of its projects and programmes, alternative sources of funding had been explored to address the challenge.
According to him, the terrain in most parts of the region makes infrastructural development a difficult task, pointing out that high costs of projects and technology required for infrastructural projects occasioned by the terrain constituted a serious challenge.
While acknowledging that youth restiveness and insecurity in the region have abated, intermittent disruption of projects by youths and excessive demands on contractors by communities/individuals and incidences of kidnapping still constitute serious problems, adding that this situation has oftentimes led to work stoppages.
Orubebe stated that the quest to develop the Niger Delta led to the recent unveiling of the Niger Delta Action Plan and National Council on Niger Delta were fundamental tools for his ministry in coordinating development projects and programmes for the transformation of the region.
He, however, noted that for the region to attain the kind of development desired, as much as N3 trillion would be required, stressing that the Multi-Stakeholder Trust Fund which defines the governance structure for development partnership and financial mechanism/resource mobilization for programme implementation.
Orubebe said the East-West Road, which was taken over from the Ministry of Works in 2010 at 10 per cent completion is presently at 52 per cent, assuring that the December 2014 completion date remains on course.