Delta State as one of the Niger Delta States is at the centre of the socio-economic life of the country. As a major oil producing and littoral State, Delta contributes enormously to the economy of Nigeria which is in the main dependent on oil revenue. However, this role is not without its attendant effects. Thus, there are challenges of environment, physical planning, social services, conflict management, and issues of resource control and economic development. In order to transform these challenges into opportunities for growth and development, the State would require commitment to implement a quality reform package as encapsulated in the State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS). The SEEDS identifies the areas of strengths for the State which it could leverage on to succeed, the weaknesses which ought to be transformed, the political, economic, social and technological opportunities and threats that the State faces in its operating environment. A. Strengths
The State possesses a lot of strengths and potentials in the following areas:
A large deposit of fossil fuel, especially crude oil and gas which is the biggest industry and revenue earner for the country. The oil industry which the State hosts is capable of inducing industrial production and commerce that could translate to economic growth and development for the State.
The presence of some industrial establishments like the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Beta Glass Company, Ughelli and other established and growing infrastructural facilities (seaports, roads, power, water, telecoms, etc), could further drive industrialization in the State. Page 23
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A terrific network of natural gas pipelines that could be source of power for industrial growth eg. for cassava processing and ceramic industry etc. Increasing share from federally collectible revenue arising from the 13% derivation fund. Wide sea-belt and other bodies of water that could promote aquaculture or marine farming (especially fishing). A large pool of vibrant human capital that could provide the necessary executive capacity for the effective implementation and delivery of the State’s policy agenda. Presence of varied higher educational and specialized institutions that provide the intellectual, technical, human resource capacity needed for the State to develop. A growing internally generated revenue (IGR) base which comes mainly from personal income tax (PAYE) and tenement rate from oil companies. Large arable land for agriculture. Weakness
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The challenge of environmental degradation arising from oil exploration and production, flooding, erosion and gas flaring. Inadequate database for effective planning purposes in the State. Uncoordinated and uncaptured informal sector activities that put pressure on the State’s resources without commensurate social pay back. Opportunities
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The oil sector which is domiciled in the State attracts private, local, and foreign investors. This has the capacity of leveraging the State’s economic growth and development process. A growing informal sector of the State could boost the economy of the State if properly mainstreamed into the formal sector. Continued survival and sustenance of democratic governance in the country and the State would further enhance the opportunities of the State to attract local, foreign investors, and development assistance from the donor community. Page 25
The on-going Federal Government reforms, and bilateral trade and continental initiatives such as the AGOA, and NEPAD may provide a number of opportunities the State could benefit from.
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The incessant conflicts in the Niger Delta region continue to exacerbate the security situation in the State and impact against investment and...