MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, BARR. (MRS) MARY IYASERE
    /    November 30, 2016   /    0 Comments  /    1169 Views

HON. COMMISSIONERS HERE PRESENT,
PERMANENT SECRETARIES,
OTHER GOVERVENMENT FUNCTIONARIES,
THE PRESS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is one of the Agencies of the Delta State Government charged with the responsibility of formulating, implementing of policies and programmes relating to Commerce, Industry, Cooperative, Small and Medium Enterprises and also advising Government on activities that would lead to the rapid industrial and commercial growth of the State, which can be achieved through mobilization, encouragement and co-ordination of both the public and private sectors of the State’s economy. The overall objectives of all these is to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of the entire citizenry by providing the enabling environment for the generation of employmentand creation of wealth,thereby facilitating economic growth and development of the State. The ultimate goal of all these efforts is to enable the present day Administration achieve its vision of PROSPERITY FOR ALL DELTANS.

2. Concerted efforts by this Ministry in this regard have led to some modest achievements since the inception of this Administration. Details of the activities, achievements and challenges of the Ministry are outlined below on departmental basis:

DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRIES

The Department of Industries of this Ministry is majorly responsible among other things; for the formulation and updating of the State’s industrial policies as well as the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects in line with the Delta State Industrial Policy. It is also responsible for the dissemination of information on industrial and investment opportunities in the State, providing technical and managerial extension services to industries in the State; conducting industrial inspection to industries to ensure compliance with industrial and occupational safety rules and regulations; and carrying out oversight functions on State owned Companies.

In realization of its statutory duties, the Industry Department has been carrying out various activities and has also been embarking on the implementation of programmes and projects which are meant to strengthen the industrial base of the State. These activities include articulating the State Government industrial policies and programmes, as approved from time to time.

1. DEVELOPMENT OF INDUSTRIAL ESTATES
The development of Industrial Estates is a core programme of both the Federal and State Governments. The State Government has a total of four (4) Industrial Estates which are currently undergoing development. They are at Asaba, Warri, Ebedei and Ikwewu-Amukpe. In the Asaba Industrial Estate, one (1) sq Km of Land has been acquired, demarcated and all the plots of the lands have been allocated and the State Government is in the process of providing social infrastructures such as earth roads, provision of boreholes, security,gate house, electricity as well as construction of drainages inthe Industrial Estate. We are also talking with a private developer to help facilitate the infrastructural development of the Estate.

The Warri Industrial Estate comprises of a hundred (100) hectares of land, the beacons surrounding the estate are being identified through the Ministry of Land and Surveys. The acquisition of the land process is yet to be perfected.

Furthermore, the Ebedei Industrial Estate is targeted to host industries which would harness the rich gas deposits in the area. Again, the acquisition of the land for this purpose is yet to be perfected too, however, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been carried out. For the Ikwewu-AmukpeIndustrial Estate, the acquisition of land for the purpose has reached an advanced stage.

2. TRAINING AND EMPOWERMENT
The objective of this programme is to jump start the establishment of businesses by indigenous Deltans by giving them vocational training and empowering them at the end of such training. The essence of all these is to create the much needed jobs which will in turn create wealth, stem rural-urban drift, youth restiveness and social vices resulting from unemployment. In order to actualize the foregoing, the Delta State Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has setup machinery in motion for the establishment of the followings:

3. INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT CENTRES (IDC)
The IDC isa collaboration between the Federal Government and the State. Delta State provides the land for the development of this Centre, while the Federal Government builds and equips the Centre. The process of acquisition of land for the Centre by the State has reached an advanced stage. The Ministry is awaiting the issuance of C of O for the IDC in the State. In the interim, accommodation for the IDC staff thatare already in the State, is being provided by the State Government.

4. STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES (SOE)
S/N STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES REMARK
1 BENDEL GLASS INDUSTRY, UGHELLI CLOSED DOWN SINCE 1981
2 BENDEL STEEL STRUCTURES LIMITED OPERATING BELLOW INSTALLED CAPACITY
3 UZERE CASSAVA PROCESSING FACTORY, UZERE IN OPERATION
4 DELTA TRANSPORT SERVICE LIMITED

5. PRIVATISATION AND COMMERCIALISATION OF STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES

In order to make the Delta State Government Owned Commercial enterprises to be more viable and profit oriented for the overall benefit of the State and the entire citizenry, the State Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has set machinery in motion for the privatization of Bendel Glass Industry, Ughelli, including its Housing Estate and Uzere Cassava Processing Factory,Uzere.These processes will come into effect before the end of first quarter of 2017 by the grace of God. The Trade Fair Complex is also to be developed to become a trade exhibition Centre all year round and we are concluding arrangements with investors to make it happen.

6. INDUSTRIAL STAKEHOLDERS FORA

i. AFRICAN INDUSTRIALISATION DAY.
This annual event instituted by the Conference of African Ministers of Industry isto raise awareness amongst African Governments and people on the vital role of industrialization in the Socio-Economic development of the African Continent. The 2016 edition was held on Monday, 21st November, 2016 at Hotel Benezia, Asaba with the theme“FINANCING INDUSTRILIZATION IN AFRICA: CHALLENGES AND WINNING STRATEGIES”.At that event, a newly created Business Development Unit of the Ministry was unveiled.

This Unit will avail Deltans the opportunity to:
i. Link businesses with new markets;
ii. Facilitates start-up with legal requirements needed to start operations ( registrations, permits, licenses, approvals, etc.);
iii. Preparation and appraisal of needs assessment/feasibility studies/business plans for prospective entrepreneurs/investors;
iv. Facilitates linkages/partnership between businesses (local and International.);
v. Facilitatesthe participation of businesses in Local and International Fairs/Exhibitions;
vi. Providing expertise advice in business locations;
vii. Sensitization on Tax Incentives for businesses;
viii. Facilitates access to Credits and Grants to businesses;
ix. Public sensitization on the need for the formation of business related cooperatives;
x. Facilitates access to new Technologies and processes by businesses;
xi. Facilitates access to our Commercial and Industrial data base;
xii. Guiding entrepreneurs on Export business and related incentives;
xiii. Plan, Promote and executes foreign Trade activities;
xiv. Facilitates Local and Foreign Trade delegation visits;
xv. Facilitates protocol services and report on Trade Fairs/exhibitions; and
xvi. Conducts business clinics and mentorship for private sector Organizations.

COMMERCE DEPARMENT

The Department of Commerce is charged with the responsibilities of initiating and executing Trade policies of the State Government including registration of business premises, export promotion, trade promotion/fairs/exhibitions, development of trade fair complexes and in the interim the construction and development of some selected markets in the State.

7. CONSTRUCTION OF MARKETS

This present Administration because of its desire to open up especially the rural areas of the State, through commercial activities, approved the development of three (3) modern markets at Orerokpe, Owa-Alero and Bomadi at the contract sum of N279,590,230,N249,794,620.19 and N249,743,688.81respectively. The various contractors have mobilized to sites and work is at various stages of completion. The State Government also in a bid to ensure that all abandoned projects are completed has given approval for work to commence at Udu Harbour market. The Contractor has been contacted and he has agreed to mobilize back to site for work to commence.

8. REVENUE GENERATION

This Ministry in the period under review, awarded contracts to three Consultancy firms to enumerate and collect revenue from business premises in the three Senatorial Districts of the State on behalf of the State Government. This is done to boast the revenue profile of the State in the face of dwindling receipts from the Federation account.

9. TRADE PROMOTION/FAIRS/EXHIBITIONS

His Excellency, the Governor, graciously approved the participation of this Ministry in the 2015 Lagos International Trade Fair and the 2016 Abuja International Trade Fair. Both outings were rewarding as some investors are indicating interest in partnering with the State Government in the area of development of solid minerals in the State. Our participation at both fairs was an ample opportunity for the Ministry to showcase the State’s vast Non-oil minerals potentials. It also afforded the Ministry the opportunity to display our made in Delta products. The Fairs also created the platform for the participants to exchange ideas of doing business both locally and internationally.

SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISES DEPARTMENT(SMEs)

This Department is charged with the responsibility of transforming and keeping track of SMEs in the State. The Delta State Government through this Ministry recognizes that SMEs reduces poverty, create jobs, build capacities and achieve sustainable economic development particularly at the grass-root level.

2. The main achievements of the Ministry in the area of Small and Medium Enterprises are outlined below:

10. ON GOING PROJECTS

1. FOUR (4) FISH FEED MILLS PROJECTS
The four (4) fish feed mills are located at:
• Ekpan, Uvwie L.G.A.;
• Ubeji, Warri South L.G.A.;
• Owanta Aliosimi, Ika North-East L.G.A.; and
• Camp 74, Asaba, Oshimili South L.G.A.

These fish feed mills projects were initiated in 2012, and as at date, all the equipment for the projectsare either on sites or close to the sites. Two (2) of the factory buildings atUvwie and Ika L.G.As.have beencompleted by this Administration and installation of the equipment have been paid for and we are expecting the equipment manufacturer to arrive the State for installation early in the New Year.

The projects were conceived under the PPP arrangement made up of Outgrowers Group/Cooperatives, Private Sector Investors and Government. The funding for the projectswere also drawn from these stakeholders in the ratio of 45:35:20 for Out-growers/Cooperatives, Investors and Government respectively.

The total cost of the projects was N489, 504,899.07(excluding VAT). The breakdown of the cost is as follows:
Machinery / equipment & Supply – 117,101,224.32
Factory Building – 103, 614,000.00
Generator 500KVA & 50KVA – 97,423,096.50
Local Installation Support – 59,654,500.00
Installation cost by the Chinese team of Consultants – 26,328,750.00
Contingency – 5,000,000.00
Monitoring & Supervision – 3,000,000.00
Final payment for equipment supplies – 77,383,328.25
TOTAL – 489,504,899.07

However, the cost has appreciated significantly, as other expenditure not factored into the initial project cost had to be incurred e.g. clearing cost, demurrage, warehousing and handling charges, consultancy fees e.t.c. The factory building cost has also appreciated due to inflation.

Presently, the investors’ funds are being used to cater for the factory building and working capital. The out-growers contribution, which is a loan from the DTSG-BOI fund, as well as Government contribution is to cater for the cost of equipment, clearing, installation and commissioning of the factory.

Two of the factory buildings i.e. at Owanta Aliosimi and Ekpan had progressed to about 40% and 50% respectively, but had stalled due to paucity of funds in the investors’ account. The Asaba and Ubeji factories are yet to commence as investors are still being shopped for.

The idea behind the proposed establishment of these Fish Feed Mills, is to stimulate the increasing interest ofyouths in fish farming which indicates a positive move towards the development of entrepreneurial skills among youths in the State. Experience has shown in recent times that many youths in the State have taken to fish farming as their source of employment and livelihood. However, one of the challenges facing these fish farmers is how to nurture these fish to a marketable size of 1kg. This is because cost of feeds account for about 70% of the production cost of fish farming and the feeds are difficult to come by.

This challenge prompted the intervention of the Delta State Government in the establishment of the ongoing four (4) Fish Feed Mills Factories in the State through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement. These projects when fully completed will not only reduce the cost of nurturing the fishes but would also help to save the nation’s hard earned foreign exchange as the feeds will now be produced and bought locally. It is pertinent to state here that in the whole of the South-South and South-East Geopolitical Zones, the Delta State Fish Feed Mills factories will be the only ones and first of its kind in the regions. The establishment of the fish feed mills factories in Delta State is predicated on the important role they are expected to play as the price of local fish feeds will drastically reduce the cost of fish feeds which will encourage more youths to take to fish farming in the State.

It is worthy of note to mention here that since the inception of this Administration, His Excellency, the Governor, has been releasing funds for the Fish Feed Millsprojects. This has enabled the contractors handling these projects to go back to sites to commence work. The good news is that work is almost completed at Owanta Aliosimi in Ika East L.G.A. and Ekpan in Uvwie L.G.A. However, it is the hope and sincere prayer of the Ministry that the outstanding funds will be made available by the investors to the contractors to enable them complete the projects so that the State and its citizenry will enjoy the benefits for which the projects were embarked upon by the State Government.

COOPERATIVE DEPARTMENT
The Cooperative Department is one of the four (4) professional Departments in the Ministry. It is a service department charged with
the primary responsibilities of registration, organization and supervision of Cooperative Societies, Unions, and Apexes within the State to ensure their effective performance. The Department on behalf of the Ministry collaborates with other MDAs to achieve the set goals of the present day Administration.

11. COOPERATIVE ACTIVITIES.
The Department has registered 2,633 Cooperative Societies since the inception of this Administration, thereby bringing the total number of registered Cooperative Societies in the State to Thirty Seven Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty(37,460).Two hundred and eleven (211) Unions, and three (3) Apex Cooperatives units registered as at 24th November, 2016. The Apex Cooperative units consist of the following:

i. Delta State Cooperative Federation Limited;

ii. Delta State Cooperative Financing Agency Limited; and

iii. Delta State NUT Cooperative League Limited.

The Cooperative Movement constitutes the various Cooperative Organizations in the State and has a strong capital base of over N38 Billion (Thirty Eight Billion Naira), internally generated by the Co-operators, domiciled in the various Cooperative Societies, Unions and Apex bodies. Though Cooperative Societies are expected to be self-financing, that is, generate the necessary finance for their operations through their members, the mopped up funds are grossly inadequate for their business operations because of the level of Cooperative development in the State. There is need for the State Government to assist these Cooperative Societies through provision of micro-credit facilities to boost their capital base since Cooperatives have been identified as a veritable tool of economic growth of any country.

12. ASSETS OF THE COOPERATIVE DEPARTMENT
The Department has Shopping Centres built by the Delta State Government located at different part of the State, viz:
i. Ogwashi -Uku Completed and in use
ii. Kwale – Completed and in use
iii. Abbi – Completed and in use
iv. Ozoro – Completed and in use
v. Ughelli – Completed and in use
vi. Agbarho – Completed but demolished by the community.
vii. Agbor – Completed
viii. Oleh – Completed and in use
ix. Effurun – In dispute
x. Igbide (Isoko South L.G.A) – Completed and in use
xi. Umunede (Ika North East L.G.A) – Completed and in use
xii. Sapele – Completed
xiii. Obiaruku – Completed and in use
xiv. Kokori – Inland Completed
xv. Issele -Uku Completed
xvi. Warri – Completed

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