Delta Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday, 28th January 2020, has said that activities would begin soon at Kwale Industrial Park as methanol and transmission tower manufacturing companies have indicated readiness to set up their plants in the State.
The governor made the disclosure at the South-South Export Enlightenment and Engagement Forum organised by the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) in conjunction with Delta Government in Asaba.
He said “Our investment drives have started paying off; our state has commenced the process of take-off of the Kwale Industrial Park located along Ughelli-Asaba Expressway.
“Expected to drive this administration’s industrialization agenda, the Park has the potential to be Nigeria’s biggest location for gas and energy intensive manufacturing such as ceramics, rubber and methanol.
“I can confidently say that we engaged in a successful road show at China which will bring about the establishment of a methanol manufacturing plant at the park within the next few months; pulp and paper will also be manufactured at the Park.
“As a demonstration of our faith in the viability of the project and as an incentive to prospective investors, my administration approved a seed fund of 10 million dollars for partnership with interested investors in the Park.
“In the same token, we have earmarked the sum of five million dollars as seed capital for the establishment of a transmission tower manufacturing plant being promoted by ENFRASCO Limited.
“The project, which will be sited at Issele-Uku, comprises the establishment of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for power transmission, telecommunication masts, hot dip galvanizing plant,tower testing and certification facility and research facility training school with focus on fabrication and distribution know-how.
“This sort of commitment on the part of the state government serves to de-risk investments and give assurance to prospective investors.”
Okowa called for diversification of the nation’s economy from oil and gas, saying “evidently, this distorted mono-product economy does not bode well for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development as oil is a depleting resource.
“Even more importantly, the advent of electric cars is a clear and present danger to the future of this industry, hence, the urgent need for the governments in the Niger Delta region to expeditiously diversify their economies and maximise our non-oil export potential.
“To achieve this, it is exigent that we first take full advantage of our unique location. In business, it is axiomatic that being in the right location is critical for success.
“Our natural location in the coastal region puts us in a prime position to engage in export-import
trade; take Delta, for instance, it has four seaports in Warri, Burutu, Sapele and Koko, whose combined capacity exceeds that of all the other ports in Nigeria put together.
“You can, therefore, imagine the quantum of trade and commerce as well as the limitless possibilities that exist for investment and employment opportunities when just two of the ports are fully functional.”
Welcoming participants earlier, Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr Abubakar Bello, had stated that efforts should be geared towards encouraging non-oil export.
He announced that N1 billion had been set aside for entrepreneurs that produced non-oil export products for each state of the country.
The Executive Director of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo advocated for a change if the theme of the event “Maximaxing Non-Oil Export Potentials ln The South- South Region For Economic Growth” must be achieved saying most of the companies supported by NEXIM Bank are not from the South South.
He lamented that most of the agricultural products like Palm oil, cassava, vegetables, groundnut, seafoods and minerals like clay, Kaolin, copper, gold, salt, glass, comical, gravel, granit are potentials for exportation, employment and income generation that were ignored, after all.
The Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Consulting, Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo also lamented that the South South is concentrating on oil, without diversifying other areas.
He believed that South South States are blessed with numerous agricultural products and mineral resources that can sustain the region through exportation.
The opening ceremony was attended by top import and export management experts and officials, corporate captains of industries and top state executives from the S/South region and beyond, including Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, amongst others.