GOV DICKSON REITERATES CALL FOR DIVERSIFICATION OF BAYELSA ECONOMY FROM OIL AND GAS, ANNOUNCES N10BN TAKE OFF GRANT FOR BDIC
Bayelsa State Governor Hon. Seriake Dickson has reiterated call for diversification from oil and gas sector of the economy as he announced the release of N10bn grant for effective take-off of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation, (BDIC).
Disclosing this at the Inaugural Board Retreat BDIC held at the weekend in Yenagoa, Governor Dickson said this would assist the Corporation in performing its statutory functions, which include attracting local and foreign investors to the State, boosting its economic profile and providing an economic blueprint for the State.
While, calling for the active participation of the Board members of the BDIC in the present administration’s efforts to turn the economy of the State around, the Governor said it has become imperative for the state to diversify from the Oil and Gas sector of the economy in view of the non renewable nature of the resource and emerging global economic market trends.
According to him, “the new Bayelsa that we all crave for, the new Bayelsa that we actually deserve, that new Bayelsa can only be founded on prosperity and security. Government is building roads and bridges, schools and so on, but in vain do we do all of this, if these activities do not translate to economic prosperity and opportunities for our people”.
Stressing the need for active involvement of the Organized Private Sector, (OPS) in the development process of the state, Hon. Dickson said government should have little or no business in running commercial enterprise, adding that his administration believes in free enterprise.
“Our government is a believer of free enterprise. It believes that the Private Sector is best suited to promoting enterprise, creating wealth, sustaining development. Government should therefore, have very little business in running businesses”.
On the expected role of the BDIC, the governor pointed out that the corporation is to serve as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity, and not to usurp the functions of the Ministries, Departments and other Agencies of the government.
He submitted, ‘the BDIC is not intended to take the place of the Ministries in this state. It is not a body that is higher than the Ministries and Government of this State. The BDIC’s role is not policy formulation. That will continue to reside in the State government and its formal organs. However, it will be the duty of the BDIC to drive those activities that are investment related.
“It is the instrument for driving investment; attracting investment and, also directly investing. Also, because it is a creation of our laws, there will always be necessary collaboration with other organs of government”.
In his bid to strengthen the economic base of the state and place it on a higher pedestal, Governor Dickson urged the management of BDIC to bring their wealth of experience to bear on the corporation’s mission, especially in the area of building a formidable conglomerate.
‘We have instances of Odua Group of Companies and other similar bodies within this Country. Outside the shore of the Country, we have sovereign entities like Investment Development Corporation, (IDC), South Africa and that of Rwanda and so many others.
‘These models exist and that is the level that we want to take our State to. Let me emphasize that going forward, all capital investment that have business elements will be undertaken by the BDIC”.
On the issue of funding, the governor disclosed, “the BDIC will enjoy from now till the end of the current budget year, a capital injection of between N5bn-N10bn from the Government of Bayelsa State. This is to enable the BDIC take off in earnest. The BDIC is not expected to be a paper tiger. We, therefore, expect the BDIC to (from now) explore investment opportunities”.