The governments of the South-South region say they are integrating their economies to create regional infrastructure that will help in developing their economies, create jobs and support entrepreneurship development.
Chairman of the BRACED states made up of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta states, Senator Liyel Imoke said the integration has become very crucial to the states in the region, irrespective of political affiliations.
According to him, the summit is an idea factory for economic growth in the region. Already, Imoke said the outcome of the maiden meeting in Calabar has led to remarkable improvement in security with the help of the amnesty programme.
This he said has also resulted in calm and conducive business environment that helped increase production of crude oil due to drastic reduction in militancy.
He said, the region now has the fastest growing economy in the country.
Host governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan further explained that the major outline of this goal was to build key infrastructure in the areas of power, transportation (including airports and sea ports) and industrialisation anchored on the Special Economic Zones.
He said to a great degree they have sought strategic partnership with the private sector under the public private partnership (PPP) model.
Giving some of such instances in Delta State, he said, “I like to state that we have made reasonable progress in that regard.
Private sector interest in building the Warri Industrial Business Park is strong. The Koko Export Free Zone, a gas-based industrial park—a major component of President Jonathan’s Gas Revolution Agenda—has a robust private sector interest driving it.
“We also have a solid private sector investment in agriculture in our collaboration with Obasanjo Farms in the Delta State OFN project and in tourism with the on-going construction of the delta Leisure Park at Oleri near Warri and the Zoo at Ogwashi-Uku. So far the PPP model has served us well and we are determined to continue and are open to further engagements with the private sector”.
He added that most of the waterfront areas at Warri, Koko, Burutu and Oghara have virtually been taken up by private investors and are at various stages of establishing their industries especially oil and gas-based industries.
He said his government did not solely focus on these mega projects alone, though a large chunk of funding had gone into it, rather the state’s strategic funding included what people might term the low hanging fruit as an immediate impact programme to support people in the state whilst the long term programme matures.