By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT— OIL and gas stakeholders yesterday warned that Nigeria urgently needs a roadmap to sustain a post-oil era in the Niger Delta region.
The stakeholders sounded the warning at the 2nd Nigerian Entrepreneurs Summit and Honours, NESH, Oil and Gas Roundtable held in Port Harcourt.
The theme of the event was Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector and Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta.
Founder of the forum, Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju, in his opening remarks said the country needed to put in place, structures that would sustain the nation’s economy when the oil reserves dry up.
He said: “Without accelerated opportunities for sustainable development in oil-producing areas sooner than later, Nigeria stands to face uncontrollable anger as the importance of oil diminishes on the global level.
“That tells us we no longer have the luxury of time. As government pushes for diversification of the economy from oil to non-oil sectors, it is incumbent on the private sector to step up and adopt strategies to accelerate development of the Niger Delta as the goose which lays the golden egg.
“Infrastructures, jobs, a clean environment, and access to health care should not only be guaranteed but seen to be in place,” he said.
Unless the country musters the political will to encourage private sector investments and partnerships, no amount of pontification can reverse the nation’s stunted growth.’’
Other participants, including representatives of various oil firms and South East South-South Professionals, further noted that the government and its agencies have been bad managers of resources and businesses.
They called for the procurement of a harmonised development plan in the Niger Delta, preference for merit above quota system, and discouragement of wastage by interventionist agencies.