Foreign fund underway for N/delta region’s development
Adevelopment fund to be known as Niger Delta Fund is said to be on the way. Inside sources said the foreign-based initiators have considered various areas of investment, including water-based economic ventures such as fish-trawling and water transportation that will touch the nooks and crannies of the oil region.
Businessday gathered in Port Harcourt at the weekend that the investment spread would also include manufacturing, with the objective of turning the Niger Delta from consumer region to producer region. Agriculture and cash crops may also be given serious attention from the fund.
The scheme is said to be a reflection of and reaction to the failed dreams from previous development agencies to move the oil region to the next economic level, such as the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the rested BRACED Commission.
The fund would also seek to encourage investors to create an aviation hub by linking all the South-south cities by air which would create another investment opportunity in the Niger Delta.
Details of the upcoming fund such as the size and application processes have not yet been revealed. A source linked to the project told Businessday that the brains behind the scheme wish to bring in a lot of funds from various parts of the world but this time not related to the government.
The director- general of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, a seasoned technocrat, Erasmus Chukunda, who seems deeply connected with the scheme, confirmed the development in an exclusive interview with Businessday.
The DG described the move as another investment opportunity in Rivers State and the Niger Delta. He said so far, the development pattern had only encouraged roads and air modes. “There is now a plan to build a sort of Niger Delta aviation hub that would have domestic flights to all the Niger Delta states. The plan is to have a Niger Delta Fund which would facilitate that regional aviation hub to increase flights.
“Waterways is one of the transportation modes that has been neglected in the region and in Nigeria. Remember that one of the major points for boundary demarcation in the Niger Delta is waterways. If we can connect all our towns and villages in the region with a water transportation system, that’s a huge investment.”
It was gathered that a company has already done a proposal on acquiring fleet of boats of different kinds to establish a water transportation system in Rivers State.