The issue of integration of people with common interest is a growing phenomenon. The talk of global village is no longer new. You have the European Union, African Union, the West African integration and many others.
The fever of integration is spreading, leading to the trickling down of integration process.
Though, the south-south geo-political zone represents about 7.5 percent of Nigeria’s land mass with an area of 84,587km2, this relatively small stretch of land provides the economic mainstay of the Nigerian economy which Oil.
The transformation of this region from a fishing and agricultural community to an exploratory oil and gas zone is traceable to the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity at Oloibiri in 1956 in present day Bayelsa State. With a meagre 400 barrels per day in 1958, the region now produces an estimated 2.4 million barrels per day.
The latest is that of the South-South people coming together to define an economic roadmap for development for the six states in the geographical location of Nigeria. They had their first meeting in Calabar last year. That was when they came out with the identity - BRACED which means Balyesa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states.
The region is located in the southern part of Nigeria and bordered to the South by the Atlantic Ocean and to the East by Cameroun
The area is the third largest wetland in the world and has a population of 26, 805, 049 people
It occupies an area of over 84,587 km2 and has a coastline spread over 540km.
All the oil and gas activities in Nigeria take place in the Niger Delta, and contributes over 80 percent of Nigeria’s revenue.
The region has diverse vegetation belts from the largest rain forests in Nigeria to mangrove swamps, savannahs, mountains and waterfalls with rare animals, including endangered species and unusual plant families, making it one of the world’s richest biodiversity centers attracting scientists and tourists alike.
The region forms the pivot of Nigeria’s economy as it accounts for about 95 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.
The region has a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $74.52 billion by 2007 estimates with an average per-capita income in the region at $331.83.
The region has three refineries (in Warri and Port Harcourt), a liquefied natural gas plant, a petrochemical complex in Warri, Steel plant at Ovwian-Aladja, Aluminum Smelter Company, ALSCON, in Ikot-Abasi.
The region is host to Calabar Export Processing Zone and the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Port Harcourt.
It also has an unlimited capacity for Independent Power Project (IPP) to boost power supply from present 3000mw to over 10,000MW.
The South-South is strategically located at the mid-point of Nigeria’s southern hemisphere where the Y tail of the River Niger joins the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of Guinea.
The objectives of the integration is to fine tune strategy on the process of economic cooperation and integration of the states in the zone. Agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, oil and gas and infrastructure are critical sectors, adopting a unified approach to power generation and distribution.
It is also meant to work towards protection of the environment especially in areas associated with oil pollution, to fashion a blueprint for the exploitation of the region’s natural endowments for sustainable human development and to position the South-South for Global Competitiveness.
A coordinating structure known as the BRACED Commission was set up after the Calabar summit where every state has at least one commissioner as a member. The commission is headed by a director general, now Ambassador Joe Keshi.
The summit will hold between April 26 – 28, 2012 in Asaba, Delta State capital.
There are investment opportunities in the South-South for a combination of agric products ranging from Tree Crops like Cocoa, Coffee, Kolanut, Timber, Rubber, Palm Trees, Raffia Palms; Fruits like Pineapple, Oranges, Mangoes Pawpaw and Food Crops like Yams, Rice, Plantain, Banana, Cassava, Cocoyam, Sweet Potato, Okro and Tomatoes. There are potentials also for water resources like fish farming and salt production.
Apart from direct investment in these resources, investors can tap into the commercial potentials of these products by setting up agro-allied industries from medium to large scale levels. These industries could include setting up cold rooms for sea foods; canning industries, oil extracting industries, sugar factories, warehousing, packaging industries etc.
Unsurprisingly, apart from the well known oil and gas, the South-South can boast of an array of other minerals like Gold, Uranium, Tin Ore (Cassiterite), Manganese, Titanium, Limestone, tantalite, mica (muscovite), Iron ore (Hematite), Clay, Tourmaline, Amethyst, Spring water, Granite, Bentonite, Feldspar, Quartz, Baryte, Diamond, Graphite, Pyrite, Talc schist, Salt, Coal, Kaolin, Crude oil, Galena (lead zinc) and Rutile, Bitumen, Kaolin, Tar sand, Lead, Zinc, stone, basalt, Gypsum and Copper etc.
The South-South is tourist’s paradise. With the panoramic views from Obudu cattle ranch to the Agbokim waterfalls; the famous Oloibiri museum where crude oil was first discovered in large quantity in Nigeria in 1956 to the Mary Slessor house/tomb; the Nana palace in Koko to the King Jaja of Opobo monument; the Alok and Nkarassi Monoliths to the Igun bronze casting; the Kukuruku Hills, Samorika to the Okomu wild life park; the Ibeno sand beach to the Tinapa business resort. the list is endless.
Bayelsa Agriculture and forestry
Bayelsa state has potential for a vibrant and profitable fishing industry. The state has a 180km coastline that holds a lot of potential for investors in fisheries. Current production is estimated at 70, 000 tonnes annually but the industry needs further investment in order to reach the target of 200, 000 tonnes yearly.
Fishing is the major occupation of Bayelsa people because of the abundant creeks, lagoons, rivers and swamps within which commercial fishing is practised. Over 200 species of fish can be found in the waters within and around the state. Fish oil extraction is a common economic activity throughout the state and the coastal areas abound in sea foods such as fish, oysters, crabs, lobsters, periwinkle etcetera.
The government has started the development of the industry and is inviting credible investors. Investment areas are commercial fishing, fish canning and processing and development of fisheries.
Majority of the population also engages in subsistence farming. The food crops grown in the state include yam, cocoyam, banana, pineapple and plantain, but the shortage of agricultural land consequent on the ecological circumstances and environmental degradation constrain commercial production of the crops. Cash crops grown in the state include coconut, pears, oil palm and raffia palm. The potentialities for the development of these crops to feed local industries are very good.
Various species of tropical trees grow in both the mangrove and fresh water swamps. Rubber is an important cash crop in the drier northern part of the state. Several timber species provide material for canoe building which is an important industry since canoes are the only means of transportation in much of the state.
There is need to exploit the state’s forest products for paper and pulp, timber, canoe and boat building, tooth picks etc., but exploitation is problematic because of poor access roads.
Bayelsa State has the largest crude oil reserve in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. The state produces over 40 per cent of the country’s on-shore crude oil and vast quantities of associated gas. It also has large deposits of clay. Indeed the resources of the state are abundant but they have not been fully explored, exploited and utilised.
Cross River Strategic location
Cross River State serves as the access point for international trade for the whole of eastern Nigeria corridor, giving it a location advantage. Cross River also has access to Cameroon via the Trans-African Highway and to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and other West African countries via local sea routes. Developing Calabar’s port and the export processing zone enhances Cross River’s strategic location
Cross River benefits from its vast arable land and plentiful rainfall which makes for a state conducive for cultivation. Agricultural produce are the leading non-oil revenue contributors to the state’s economy and employ at least 70 percent of the state’s labour force. Investment is open in the areas of infrastructure and modern inputs such as fertilizer, seeds, tools and agro-chemicals. Oil Palms, Rubber and Cocoa are Cross River’s major cash crops.
The State has a proactive business friendly State Government and there are policies and laws that supports investment. In addition, the state government also grants some percentage of incentives to investors; this includes: income tax of 30 percent in all sectors except petroleum, tax holiday of 5 years in urban areas and 7 years in economically disadvantaged areas, investment in infrastructure usually attracts 20 percent tax holiday on the cost of providing facilities, industries with local value addition enjoys 10 percent tax concession of up to 5 years, 100 percent repatriation of profits and dividends for foreign investors, 100 percent ownership of investments for foreign investors, existence of one-stop investment center for investors.
Rivers Mineral resources
Rivers State is rich in crude oil production. An enormous amount of Nigeria’s oil wealth is derived from Rivers State. The first commercial discovery of crude oil was at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State in 1956. This success was followed by the discovery of other wells at Afarn in 1957 and the Ebubu and Bomu in 1958, all in present day Rivers State.
Thus, the State has become firmly established as one of the major oil producing centres in the nation. Rivers State now produces oil from 416 wells, out of the 1201 wells in the country. Associated with oil exploitation and exploration is the potential for gas production, an area which is open to investment.
The major investment areas in this industry are the development of new refineries, investment on petrochemical industries and independent power plant
Rivers a State is second to Lagos in respect of industrial development. The natural resource potentials of the state include wide ranging agricultural and industrial mineral products, from which raw materials can be sourced for the establishment of medium and large scale industries.
Agricultural raw materials for agro allied industries include rubber, oil palm, palm kernel, cassava, vegetables, rubber, timber, rope etc. There is a potential for investment in palm-oil related industries e.g. soap making.
The tropical forest in Rivers allows for the development of agro-allied industry in the dry areas of the state; development of fishing industry in the wet areas and swamp rice cultivation.
Edo State is largely an agrarian state with many agricultural crops tree crops like timber, oil palm and rubber; cash crops like cotton, tobacco, rice, cocoa, raffia palm, cashew and groundnut and food crops like tomatoes, pepper, melon, sugar cane, plantain, cassava, citrus fruits, maize, yam, pineapple and banana. This array of agricultural materials allows for investments in timber/wood processing industry, textile industry, agro-allied industries, oil and kernel processing, fishing industry and rubber industry .
Palm fruits, oil and kernel are available in large quantities in the state. Animal husbandry, such as piggery, rabbit farms and poultry are also practised in the state. A variety of wildlife such as chimpanzees, gorillas, snakes, monkeys and antelopes abound in the state’s forest and vegetation.
The rivers, creeks and coastal waters breed large quantities and many species of shrimps, fish, lobster, tortoise, hippopotamus and other aquatic lives.
However, peasant farming is mostly practised in the Delta using old-fashioned tools and techniques. Thus investors can tap its vast agricultural potentials profitably, especially in the areas of large-scale mechanised farming and modern animal rearing.
The state government’s aim is to achieve self-sufficiency in fish production and ultimately to have fish products available for export. Investors can invest in the following areas: production of fishing equipment, establishment of modern fish farms, shrimp fishing, establishment of an ice-melting plant, fish processing for export incentives.
Akwa Ibom Rivers and tropical trees
Akwa Ibom, the “Land of Promise” is a state overflowing with agricultural and mineral resources. The abundance of these resources makes the state a goldmine for investors. Investment opportunities abound in the state in the areas of commerce, industries, agriculture, housing and tourism.
Akwa Ibom is the third largest producer of crude petroleum in Nigeria, after Rivers and Delta states. In terms of agriculture, the state is blessed with numerous rivers and tropical trees. Its location places it in favourable climate for all-year season for agricultural activities. The state has potential for investments in agro-allied industries and food processing, fishing and the production of fertilisers.
There are also abundant mineral resources in Akwa Ibom. Apart from oil and natural gas the state has other mineral resources like limestone, clay, gold, salt, silver, nitrate, aluminum and glass sand; these can lead to the development of industries in petrochemical, glass manufacturing, ceramics and cement.
Akwa Ibom has a coastline of 129 km and is endowed with mangrove swamps, rivers, creeks and flood plains. All of these offer great investment opportunities for trawling and for fish and shrimps, fish processing and canning industries, fish meal production, fish oil and glue industries.
The state has a high density of oil palm belt on the West African coast, which can sustain oil mills and allied industries such as, palm kernel cracking industries and feed mills. The raw materials research and development council office in the state provides information on raw materials available in the state to potential investors.
There are many reasons to invest in Akwa Ibom State. In terms of location she is positioned midway between the two port cities of Calabar and Port Harcourt, and has unlimited access to the world either by air or by sea. The state is also served by three export free zones. In terms of market prospect for Akwa Ibom’s products in Nigeria, with a population of close to 150 million people, is a lucrative market for seafood.
The country enjoys favourable trade relations with all ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) members. Export opportunities to Europe and the US also exist with a workforce of four million people, Akwa Ibom has an abundance skilled and unskilled labour. Lastly, in terms of incentives, the state government is offering a number of incentives to serious investors in the state. These include the provision of infrastructure and special tax holidays and deductions.
Delta Economic climate
Government’s efforts to create a conducive investment climate in the state include the granting of loans to willing entrepreneurs (i.e. local investors) to establish small and medium industries. A package of incentives for foreign investors is also available.
These include capital allowance, tax holiday, relief and tariff protection.
A wide array of raw materials for agriculture and mineral based industries exist in the state, offering considerable investment opportunities. The raw materials from agriculture include oil palm, rubber, cassava, maize, fruits and vegetable. The possible areas for investments that will rely on agricultural raw materials include:
Investment opportunities contingent upon refining and ancillary activities, include establishment of industries for the following industrial and food grade solvents: insecticides; cosmetics mineral oil, petroleum jelly, greases, bituminous based water/damp proof building materials such as floor tiles, rubber products, tarpaulins, etc.; asphalt storage, packaging and blending plants to handle products for export and local use.
Opportunities exist for the establishment of industries for the extraction of solvents for both domestic and export markets and the manufacture of fertiliser. For the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), opportunities exist for pipe laying, pipe coating, inspection and numerous process related activities as well as maritime operations.