James Emejo in Abuja
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has said that the state was not moving away from oil but rather exploring other potential to diversify its economy.
He said the state government is currently empowering hundreds of young entrepreneurs to establish their own businesses and also create employment opportunities for others.
“We are not throwing away the oil but we are saying that apart from the oil, we have other things that we can also rely on-so that if the oil fails, we will not fail. That’s what we are doing”, he said.
The governor added:”We are training young entrepreneurs, university graduates-instead of giving them employment and staying in the office doing nothing-they are being trained to be self-employed-to do produce things in their hands-to think about what they’ve learnt and then practicalise it.
“We teach them different trade and when they finish, the government gives them starter packs to go and start their business and when they come, they are trained first of all, on how to run a business, and then they go to established businesses to learn on the spot and they come back again and are retrained on how to manage their businesses.”
Speaking in Abuja at the Delta State Day at just concluded 2016 Abuja International Trade Fair, Okowa, who was represented by the Delta State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Mary Iyasere said:”Delta State is not moving away from oil per se; the oil is there, but we have other potentials which we are also exhibiting; the potentials are in agriculture, in manufacturing, we have the raw materials to manufacture-for instance, you can do a lot of things with our solid minerals; we have clay products and everything that can be done with all the solid minerals; they are there.
“We are telling the world that Delta State is the place to be when you want to invest because we have the landmass, we have the coastline, we have abundant solid minerals, we have wood, cassava, Palm and a lot of products that are made in Delta-and what do we do-we show them to the world and that’s why we are here.”
According to him, “We are encouraging investors to come and tap and manufacture-we encourage people to come to Delta because we have an array of palm trees-palm business, fishing business; we have 163 kilometer of coastline and with that you can establish tourism, you can establish aqua-business.
“All the exhibitors here were brought on the sponsorship of the Delta State government……Apart from the starter packs, they are also paid during the training period before they are properly established and that’s what Delta State government is doing and we have the micro credit office that also gives them loan to carry on their business so that they are established and also employ others. We create jobs through our youths and through the establishment.
He added: “All these are their products and they are the people the state has helped. So we bring them here to showcase their products because it’s good to help them to produce and also good to help them market what they’ve produced-And that’s why they are here.”