Ben Dunno – Warri
Delta state government has reaffirmed commitments to re-designing the Warri Industrial Park, a project initiated and abandoned by the last administration to stimulate economy diversification, in order to de-emphasize the over reliance on oil revenues as the only means of survival.
The state Governor, Senator Ifeayin Okowa, who stated this at his maiden interactive session with newsmen in Asaba, noted that a major aspect of the industrialization initiative that needed to be critically considered was how to get private sector to show more commitments in partnering with the state government to drive the project.
He observed that as laudable as the project might sound on paper work, it may not realize its full potentials if the private sector would not be willing to partner with it, adding that the major role expected of the state government in the project was to create an enabling environment to enable the private sector operators take advantage of for maximum result.
While stating that the government was still under-studying the project design of the last administration in order to better appreciate the challenges it encountered in bringing the project to fruition, Senator Okowa, noted that once this is done and investors from both within and outside the country are showing interest, then the project would be back on stream to further boost the economy of the state.
According to him, “The Warri Industrial Park is a very laudable project and we do not intend to jettison it. We are still under-studying the design in order to understand why it was halted by the previous administration and once we are able to identify the issues, we hope to make the necessary corrections and move on with it in the interest of the state.”
Continuing, “No doubt, such projects are what the state government is looking at to diversify the economy from oil. We know the importance of industrialization, especially at this critical period when our economy is no longer strong due to the falling prizes of oil at the international market. This, we all know is a factor that had contributed to the dwindling financial fortunes of the state which necessitated the need to look beyond oil to sustain the economy”.
“But one thing we have come to realize is the fact that private sector partnership is very key in driving the project, as such we need to get the commitment of the private sector to partner with us. And what that means is that at every stage of planning their interest would be considered. You do not expect us to build good roads and structures at the proposed site of the project and at the end have no investors to drive it”, Okowa noted.
It would be recalled that the last Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in the state led by Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, initiated the Warri Industrial Park project as one of his priority program towards diversifying the economy from oil but abandoned the project since 2013 without disclosing the reason to the public before handling over on May 29, 2015.