Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Nsima Ekere, has stated that the current focus of the Federal Government on the Niger Delta region has made it an investment destination with opportunities in oil and gas, agriculture, Information Communication Technology, as well as power generation and distribution.
Ekere spoke during the dinner held for participants at the 2017 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, United States. According to him the Niger Delta was being repositioned to attract investors in several growth areas beyond oil and gas.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer gave the assurance that specific policy initiatives targeting the root cause of the agitations in the Niger Delta were being prepared for rollout by the Federal Government. â€œThese will tackle security, law and order, power, transport infrastructure, modular refineries and investment in people,â€ he said. Ekere stated that the NDDCâ€™s participation at the 2017 OTC Conference was to explore partnerships and opportunities with investors who would support the efforts of the Federal Government and NDDC in creating more jobs for the teeming Niger Delta youths who were already armed with the requisite skills and knowledge to work and collaborate with investors in different economic sectors.
The NDDC boss said with 18 universities spread across the nine States in the region, the Niger Delta was well positioned to provide the needed human resources to ensure viability and sustainability of investments.
He added: â€œWe are also working with the business community to identify ways to overcome constraints and ensure businesses take advantage of the numerous opportunities in the region. Investors are invited to join us on this journey of discovery of the potentials in the Niger Delta region.â€
Ekere pledged that the NDDC would continue to work with communities and people of the region to provide needs-based interventions for communities, noting that the region was one of the most promising locations in Nigeria, covering nine states with a population of about 32 million people; 60 per cent of whom are below the age of 30 years.
He underscored the fact that the region was the focal point for the Oil & Gas sector with about 37 billion barrels of proven reserves and numerous other mineral deposits such as granite, barites, marble, clay, gypsum, phosphate rock, feldspar, limestone sand and gravel.
Â In addition, he said: â€œBefore the advent of oil the region exported coal, gold, tin, columbite, tantalite, lead and zinc. With over 750,000 hectares suitable for fish and shrimp farming and 500,000 hectares of arable land for farming, the region is a diversified portfolio of opportunities.â€
The Offshore Technology Conference is a conglomeration of global players in the Oil and gas industry as well as ICT, power generation and allied sectors. It offers a networking/investment platform to participants.