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State of the States: Delta State

Oil facility

September 13, (THEWILL) – Delta State was created from the then Bendel State on 27th August 1991. Its capital is Asaba. While Warri, the largest and most populous city in the state, is the business nerves centre.

Water falls
Water falls

The state shares common boundaries with Edo and Ondo States to the north west, Imo and Anambra to the north east, Rivers and Bayelsa to the south-east. In the south and south-west, it has approximately 122 kilometres of coastline bounded by the Bight of Benin on the Atlantic Ocean.

Its location in the tropics is the cause of its climatic fluctuation, ranging from the humid tropical in the south, to the sub-humid in the north-east. The lessening of humidity towards the north is accompanied by an increasingly marked dry season. The average rainfall is about 266.5mm in the coastal areas and 190.5mm in the extreme north. Rainfall is heaviest in July. Temperature increases from the south to the north.

Delta is the second largest oil producing state accounting  for 35% of Nigeria’s crude oil and some natural gas. The nation’s second refinery as well as petrochemical plant are located in Warri.

Despite making its major earnings from oil production, Delta’s other potentials are tourism and agriculture. Its major agricultural produce include tubers and root crops such as cassava, cocoyams, yam, potatoes, oil palm, rice, corn, rubber, timber and fish farming.

Nonetheless, the state government is said to have invested huge portion of the revenue derived from oil into agriculture, taking advantage of its coastal environment to boost fisheries, sea foods, forestry, veterinary services, produce planning and research.

Natural Resources: 

The state is rich in various collections of solid mineral such as silica, industrial clay, limestone, ignite, kaolin, decorative rocks. All these are confirmed raw materials for making bricks, ceramics, bottles, glass, chalk , sanitary wares proven by experts to be  underutilised.

Tourism:

1. Nana’s Palace: Built by Nana Olomu of Ebrohim (Itsekiri) in 1852.

2. River Ethiope: Reputed to be the deepest inland water in Africa.

3. Araya Bible Site: Housing a copy of the Bible believed to have descended to the spot miraculously from heaven.

4. Demas Nwoko Edifice: Build entirely with traditional materials.

5. Mungo Park House: Site of the national museum in Asaba.

6. Ogulagha Beach: Noted for its calm environment and warm shores

7. The Niger Bridge: Over 2km concrete and iron bridge connecting Delta and eastern states, commissioned in 1965.

8. Lander Brothers’ Anchorage: Built in Asaba in memory of early British explorers. The complex has a museum, a graveyard, and many artworks and writings. It houses a replica of one of the boats that was used by the two brothers, Richard and John, during their expedition in 1804-1834.

9. Falcorp Mangrove Park: Based in Warri with a beautiful zoo, among other side attrctions.

10. Warri Kingdom Royal Cemetery: A 512-year-old burial ground which serves as the resting place of past rulers of Warri Kingdom. A tree is planted on each grave.

FACT-FILE

Local government area: 25

Registered businesses: 2,416

Public primary schools: 1,509 @ 2019

Public secondary schools: 615 @ 2019

Universities: Eight: Federal 2, state 1, private 5.

Polytechnics: Five: federal 1, state 3, private  1.

Colleges of education: Six: federal two, state  4.

College of agriculture: One.

Institute of petroleum: Two

Maritime institute: Two.

Nursing schools: Three.

Land area: 6,833 sq mi

Total revenue:  N246.56 @ 2020

Total tax: N 53.87bn @ 2020

FAAC:  N186.82bn @ 2020 (75.77% of total revenue)

IGR: N59.73bn @ 2020 (24.23% of total revenue)

Domestic Debt: N248.45bn @ 2020

External Debt: $62.056m @ 2020

Unemployment rate: 40.3% @ 2020

Population: 5.4 million @ 2019

Airport: Asaba international airport.

Seaports: Four.

 

Delta on Fast Lane of Maritime, Tourism, Agriculture Development

Okowa caricature

The instability of the oil sector poses a threat to states that depend mainly on the sector as its major source of revenue. This compels such states to diversify to other viable channels for sustenance. The state has at various times indicated its determination to develop its tourism potentials, taking advantage of existing infrastructure and natural resources in diverse ways.

 

The state has to its advantage the recently commissioned Warri-Itakpe railway line that runs through Agbor, connecting Delta, Kogi and Edo states which will eventually connect with Abuja. The state appears set to cash in on this privilege to develop tourism and transform it into a major source of sustainable alternative revenue.

Recent projects created to achieve this objective include the Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village Projects. The state government explains that the initiative is in line with its determination to build sustainable infrastructure to boost tourism potentials in the state.

Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Engr. Lawrence Ejiofor, during an inspection of the Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village Projects recently, reveals that the commencement of the project was thorough and highly professional to specifications, ensuring durability for long term usage. He further said the project was backed by the Private-Public Partnerships (PPP) model adding, “we are going to partner with Nollywood and other private sector stakeholders to manage this place and give government returns.

“The private partners will see to the day-to-day running of these projects.

“I was in Abuja some time ago to market Delta as a tourism destination. However, what we are doing now is to put our tourism facilities to modern standards.

“We just signed the memorandum of understanding for Lander Brothers Anchorage between the state government and Jabi Boat Club.

“They are committing N550 million into a special purpose vehicle ( SPV) of 70:30 percent to rebuild and manage it over time.”

The Film Village project has editing suites, sound studio amphitheater, guest house and hostel facilities, engineering and maintenance as well as a site for epic movies.

The leisure park on the other hand will have a zoo for wildlife, an artificial lake, a swimming pool, a big restaurant, and an 11-story observatory tower.

Maritime Development:

Delta state, has four seaports in Burutu, Warri, Sapele and Koko. Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) Limited, promoter of the proposed $2.9 billion Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC – 1) in Delta State, recently secured a provisional approval from the Federal Government through Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT) to commence the port project.

The Concession company  chairman Andrew Okoja said the deposit of the sum of $1billion is a commitment and capacity to deliver the port project.

Mechanized Agriculture: This will boost food production, especially in partnership with the state government.
Mechanized Agriculture: This will boost food production, especially in partnership with the state government.
Yam, Cassava, Plantain Processing: Delta is part of Nigeria’s food basket. Investment in this area is worth considering.
Yam, Cassava, Plantain Processing: Delta is part of Nigeria’s food basket. Investment in this area is worth considering.
Tourism: The state government is strategically developing this sector; investment in value-chain boosting ventures is highly recommended, especially through SMEs.
Tourism: The state government is strategically developing this sector; investment in value-chain boosting ventures is highly recommended, especially through SMEs.
Maritime: Water transportation, trawling, cold store, repair workshop, tools/parts fabrication are germane to effective maritime service.
Maritime: Water transportation, trawling, cold store, repair workshop, tools/parts fabrication are germane to effective maritime service.
Restaurant: This is a strong investment platform to attract tourists.
Restaurant: This is a strong investment platform to attract tourists.
Hotel & Guest House: Investment in well-developed hotels and guest houses is strategic
Hotel & Guest House: Investment in well-developed hotels and guest houses is strategic
Shops, grossery stores: Retail shops and grossery stores will thrive in the emerging business climate of the state.
Shops, grossery stores: Retail shops and grossery stores will thrive in the emerging business climate of the state.
Private Security Service: Professionals who venture into this sector will help to boost capacity.
Private Security Service: Professionals who venture into this sector will help to boost capacity.
Financial Service: Efficient financial service is critical to support the developmental proje
Financial Service: Efficient financial service is critical to support the developmental project

The $2.9 billion funding  required for the project is being sourced  from foreign investors. The port is expected to ease the    Lagos ports, and attract about $50 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Nigeria and by extension boost the economy of Delta state.

The project is said to include industrial layouts, an independent power plant (IPP), a conservation park, an international airport, prime infrastructure, new towns and cities.

The development is expected to create about 30,000 to 40,000 jobs upon completion.

The project is maritime-driven and is cited on approximately 31 hectares of land in Escravos, Delta State.

Benefits to include transformation of the coastal/foreshore line between Benin River into prime lands for seafront property development, and support for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) operations, among others.

Challenging Factors: Insecurity, erosion menace, inefficient electricity supply, poor state of the roads and multiple taxes by state and local governments.