The Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has said that the Federal Government must take urgent steps to ensure speedy diversification of the nation’s economy if it hopes to achieve sustainable growth and development.
Uduaghan spoke last week in Abuja at a dialogue with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), tagged “Delta Beyond Oil,” on how to foster strategic partnership on the exploration and promotion of non-oil export and export potentials in Delta State.
He noted that the high level of unemployment put at 40 per cent in the country was as a result of over reliance on oil revenue to the detriment of the other sectors of the economy, adding that there were numerous mineral resources like cocoa, palm oil other solid minerals abound in the states across the federation.
The governor attributed the rising cases of kidnapping, youth restiveness, armed robbery and other social menace to unemployment, which he said made the youths to become willing tools in the hands of mischief makers.
He, however, said his government had embarked on a number of programmes to empower youths in the state, including introduction of micro credit and loan scheme, development of infrastructure, ICT and agriculture, adding that his government had also tried to change the mindset of the ‘Deltans’ from thinking that “everything start and end with oil”.
He said: “What Delta State has decided to do is to look at those minerals and opportunities that are there in the state and develop the needed infrastructure in order to effectively harness them. That is why we are also here at NEPC to see how we can partner to improve the non-oil sector in the state.”
The Director and Chief Executive of NEPC, Dr Olusegun Awolowo, in his remarks commended the Delta State Government for taking bold steps toward promoting non-oil sector in the state in spite of the fact that Delta is one of the major oil producing states in the country.