To develop Delta State is not a rocket science. It is easy with the right leadership and intelligence.
The greatness of Delta State is highly dependent on a strategic economic development plan that is centered on industrial development with a view to harness the vast oil & gas resources and agro base raw materials to drive manufacturing and diversification of the Delta State economy. The first principle to develop this plan is to first of all study the geographical resource potentials of the State and planthe economic development plan on the strength of its strategic geography and geology.
From the map of Delta State shown below, it is easy for natural resources development expert like myself to quick identify four (4) strategic geography of Delta State to drive the industrial development philosophy of Delta State: 1. Sapele/Koko Deep River Channel to the Atlantic Ocean 2. Ogidigbe/Ogbe-Ijoh Deep River Channel to the Atlantic Ocean 3. Forcados/Burutu/Warri Deep River Channel to the Atlantic Ocean. 4. Asaba that serves as gateway to Eastern Nigeria. The geography within the channel to the Atlantic Ocean are most strategic geographies in Delta State to develop industrial cities due to the fact that they: – Provide access to the Atlantic Ocean for exportation and importation of goods and products, – Have abundant oil & gas reserves to serve as source of energy and petrochemical raw materials for manufacturing and industrial development, – Have proximity to hinterlands of Delta State with fertile soil for development of agro-allied materials needed for manufacturing. In addition to the above, Sapele in particular has advantage of access to existing road networks to all parts of Nigeria for transportation of goods and products within Nigeria. Moreover, the proposed site for the Sapele Industrial City FTZ is 10 minutes’ drive away from the Osubi Airport for air transportation logistics supports requirements to the industrial city which makes it more strategic than the Onne FTZ and Lekki Free Trade Zone. Asaba is strategic because of the fact that it is a gateway to Eastern Nigeria. Couple with the fact that there is already existing airport in Asaba. What would be needed to make Asaba an attractive industrial city is for a gas pipeline system to be constructed from Southern Part of Delta State through Delta center to Asaba to supply gas as source of energy to drive industrialization in Asaba. With the above known facts established, Delta State economic development strategy should be driven by the following development strategy:
- Development of Sapele Industrial City FTZ as a safe haven free Trade Zone to harness the gas resources within Sapele and environment to drive manufacturing process and diversification of the Delta State Economy.
- Development of the Ogidigbe Export Processing Zone for oil and gas refining and petrochemical products processing and exportation.
- Development of Burutu Deep Sea Port for exportation and importation Operations.
- Development of Asaba Industrial City FTZ for manufacturing industries.
- Upgrade of Osubi Airport to International Standard.
- Construction of mega express road to connect Forcados Terminal – Burutu – Escravos – Ogidigbe to Warri/ Sapele Express Way.
- Construction of Gas Pipeline System from Delta South through Delta Central to Asaba.
- Development of a minimum of 2000 hectares of land Agriculture Plantations in each Local Government Area of Delta State for cultivation of cash crops that would serve as Agro-allied raw materials to the Industrial City.
- Expansion of the Railway line from North/West/ Eastern Nigeria to all industrial Cities to be developed in Delta State.
The overall philosophy of this development plan is to achieve an export base economy that is driven by trade, industries and commerce. What the people and Government of Delta State needs is a strategy that would enable Government and private corporations to have the right partnership to harness the vast mineral, geographical, marine, environmental and agriculture resources to drive manufacturing industries as to achieve net positive revenues for Delta State. With Government providing the basic infrastructure needs and policies for a private sector driven investments in manufacturing plants, business infrastructure and assets. To achieve this, the Government of Delta State would need to make it a matter of law to establish a ministry of Industrial Development directly under the Watch of the Governor that will be funded with a minimum of 25 percent of the State Budget. The Ministry of Industrial Development should be saddled with the responsibility to master plan all industrial cities and agro plantation, execute an initial work program needed to establish the basic infrastructure needed for a private sector driven industries. Let me say here that if the Delta State Government has formulated a law