The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has called on the governors of the South-South to develop the region in order to take economic independence from the centre.
The minister made the call on Friday at Emeyal, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park being developed by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
Kachikwu said there is no bundle of states in the country that has the opportunity and resource base and the human resource to be able to develop and create a synergy of independence similar to what Lagos is doing for Lagos State more than “these block of states”.
The minister, who said the time for speech making was over, challenged Governor Seriake Dickson to take the bull by the horn and rally round other governors to move the region forward.
He said the Federal Government realised that before 2016, investments in the oil and gas sector had issues and that oil companies were basically operating reckless production.
He, however, said that there is now a massive investment in the oil sector, noting that with those investments will come jobs, with those jobs will come peace and with that peace will come development.
Kachikwu said, “So, a lot is going on in the oil sector but a lot still has to happen. Major policy changes are in the works, major regulatory changes are in the works, major emphasis on rural areas are in the works.
“But I think no change can be as important as the change that I hopefully anticipate should rock this nation, which is the change where the committee of South-South governors are able to sit down and see how to develop the South-South to the point where they take economic independence from the centre. This means that cross border developments, roads, specialisation areas in health, finance, education and the rest can be done.
“Frankly, there is no bundle of states in this country that has the opportunity and resource base and the human resource to be able to develop and create a synergy of independence similar to what Lagos is doing for Lagos State more than these block of states and I challenge his excellency, Governor Seriake Dickson to take the bull by the horn. The time for speech making is over, the time has come to move forward.”
Speaking on the achievements in the sector since President Muhammadu Buhari took over, the minister said the administration had revolutionised the oil and gas industry.
He said when the government took over, oil production was as low as 800,000 barrels per day, averring that today, the production had increased to about two million barrels per day.
Kachikwu also said that with ingenious financial projects put in place by the government, the government targets about $60bn with projects such as Egina, Zabazaba, Gbonga South, among others.
Speaking on the oil and gas park, the minister said that when completed, it would throw open the whole economic landscape and bring investors and people together to come and invest.
Shedding light on the park, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, said the facility would have shops where manufacturing concerns would come and incubate themselves.
He said that the park would also have a training facility, hostel and accommodation for workers, adding that it would also have all the facilities that people desire in an industrial park.
He warned youths of the community not to destroy the facility, assuring them that when completed, no fewer than 3,000 jobs would be created and some of them would be engaged.