Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The quest by the Delta State Government to establish a solid base for industrialisation might remain a mirage unless deliberate efforts are made towards ensuring power generation and availability for production purposes.
Charles Oditah, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern Oil & Gas Company Limited, who gave the advice at the Delta State Economic and Investment Summit in Asaba, noted that state desire for massive industrial takeoff could only be realised with a solid power base in place.
While commending the state government for its concerted efforts at “providing the right and enabling environment for private participation and investment”, he stressed the need for Delta State to strive to generate its own power.
Oditah pointed out that the state government quest for huge industrialisation would continue to be hampered by poor energy supply despite the fact that the state had a “large share of gas reserve”.
Most of the megawatts (MW) of power generated from the state is not within the power of the state to control as it is fed into the National Grid, he observed.
He noted that since all facets of industrialisation demand energy to run them successfully and profitably in a sustainable way, the issue of regular and readily available power supply could not be over-emphasised.
He said he also shared the views of former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, that to launch Delta State industrially required huge financial outlay
The Midwestern Oil boss, therefore, urged stakeholders, particularly oil and gas bearing communities to brace up to the challenge by venturing into the upstream sector of the industry trough meaningful investment.
“A lot of finance is required to support any meaningful and sustainable industrialisation effort”, Oditah noted, adding that the host communities could pool resources together and also take advantage of the Nigerian or local content launch pad existing in the country.
Moreover, Oditah appealed to the people, especially youths involved in various agitation, to give peace a chance as the disruption of the operations of oil companies trough destruction of pipelines and oil facilities are counterproductive.
Insecurity remains a centrifugal force that scares off existing and potential investors, he noted, adding that all hands must be on deck to tackle the problem of insecurity as international investors who naturally expect returns form their investment could not afford to lose their valuable infrastructure to violent agitators.
He noted that the Okowa administration was treading the right path with its disposition to economic and investment issues, as inward-looking mechanism remained the best way to go in the desire to establish Delta State as the industrial hub of Nigeria after Lagos State.
Oditah said his company had established “a tradition of partnering the communities by assisting in various areas of need like provision of road networks, provision of transformers to boost electricity supply, provision of solar-powered boreholes, building of and equipping blocks of classrooms, offer of scholarships, as well as training youths in various skill acquisition schemes, among others.”
He noted that Midwestern Oil and Gas Company adhered strictly to international best practices it all its operations including its relationship with its host communities, saying he believed in the invaluable role of the private sector in realizing the industrial dream of the state.
“Even though we are a local oil company, we operate on a global scene with our HSE records”, Oditah said, adding, “Management will continue to provide all necessary support, resources-wise, to aid us in achieving LTI-free operations.”
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had earlier this year commended Midwestern Oil and Gas on its remarkable contribution to the growth of its host communities in the state through sincere corporate social responsibility programmes.
Okowa, who spoke during the commissioning of the Amenity Ward in Kwale General Hospital and a rehabilitated street as well as the award of 40 scholarships to students, assured of partnership with the company and ensure that its operations and activities in the state enjoy maximum protection.
Oditah was among the powerful panel of discussants at the sixth session of the Delta State Economic and Investment Summit, with the theme “Bridging the Infrastructure Gap at the Subnational Level”, which is part of the effect of the state government to open up the state for meaningful business and investment.
The session, which was led by the Director-General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulation Commission, Abuja, Mr. Aminu Dikko, featured the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and a host of captains of industries in Nigeria.