By Franklin Alli
Mr. Billy Harry, is the President, South-South Chambers of Commerce(SSCC), Chairman, Oil & Gas Trade Group of NACCIMA. He explains goals of the nascent SSCC, and why 75 per cent of income to be generated by businesses in the oil and gas industries should be reinvested in the economy.
What led to the emergence of South -South Chambers of Commerce?
South-South Chambers of Commerce is the newest conglomerate of the chambers of commerce in the country.Â As you are probably aware, we have the Conference of Northern Chambers of Commerce, (CONCCIMA), we have Oâ€™dua chambers of commerce taking care of the South West, and we used to have what is called the South East Chambers of Commerce.
So, the SSC is the latest entrant into the regional chambers of commerce movement in Nigeria..Â SSC comprises city chambers of commerce in all the Niger Delta states, namely, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Delta and Edo State.
What is the chambersâ€™ focus?
Since the established regional body, we have suddenly found our feet and our voice for collective will and decision which a few chambers might not have achieved on their own as city chambers.Â So, are working together with our states governors, commissioners of commerce and ministries in charge of natural resources.
We do believe that with a body like this, we can even help the federal government to implement economic decisions in the region for instance, the post amnesty programme that government is grappling with today.
Government is still sweating over the post amnesty issue simply because they are doing it by themselves which is not good enough for the simple reason that the main casualty of the agitation of the Niger Delta youths has been the private sector companies that are operating there: the oil and gas firms, manufacturing concerns, hotel and tourism, etc.
So, we know where the shoe is actually pinching us., and we are in the better position to advise the government on how best to make the post amnesty programme work and create an enabling environment for businesses and lives in the region.
So, we will be very glad to be on board and help government to develop a realistic programme that is cost effective and goal-oriented and able to achieve as much possible to re orientate the youths, women leaders and other stakeholders.Â We believe SSCC can play a role to redirect their minds and bring them to become useful economic tools.
What is your take on the Local Content Bill recently signed into law?
We are very excited and glad as organised private sector that the local content bill is approved and signed into law.Â As the chairman of oil and gas trade group of NACCIMA, I welcome it and really applaud the Federal Government especially the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to have signed the bill into law.
â€œ It is a very great stride in developing the economy because the thrust of the local content is to make Nigeria to become self sufficient.
Nigerian companies must be empowered, encouraged and monitored.Â We, however counselled that 75 per cent of income to be generated by the businesses should be reinvested in the economy and not subjected to capital flight.