FROM the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, on Tuesday in Asaba, came recommendations on what the deprived oil rich Niger Delta region of the country should do to harness its natural resources.
To diversify from oil and gas, Ajumogobia, who spoke at the Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission Fourth Distinguished Annual Lecture 2009, enumerated six strategies, which includes business development, workforce development, physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, cultural and environmental stewardship and civic infrastructure.
These, he noted, are the cornerstone of the building blocks of community development could also be the toolbox of the state governments of the Niger Delta, stressing that there is the need to create the right environment for new, high value business to thrive, developing the personnel for the 21st century world and building the infrastructure to connect the Delta to markets , people and educational opportunities.
He advised that the recommendations if utilised are likely to have a direct impact on the people by ensuring that the Niger Delta can provide a decent quality of life for its citizens beyond oil.
He demanded not only for transparency and the strengthening of legal systems to curb corruption but also for massive investment of oil revenue in infrastructure, health, education, and the developments of the vital non oil sector.
The minister identified the use of macro-economic planning to minimise the economic shocks that dependence on oil can produce, adding that the prevention of inflation by holding excess oil revenues outside the local economy was another sure way of turning the natural endowments into blessing.
Echoing Ajumogobia, former Delta State Governor James Ibori, Ibori said that the theme: "Oil &Gas As Depleting Resources: Recreating A Niger Delta Without Oil " was apt. "We should start thinking of diversifying, creating Delta without oil," he said.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan lamented the negative effects of vandalism, which he said, had become rampant in the region.
He said, "vandalism is not acceptable. We must all work together to secure those pipelines. Peace and security involves fighting armed robbery, kidnapping, etc, for us to achieve our vision of Delta State without oil, we must all be vigilant."