By Udeme Akpan
Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas, HOSCON, has embarked on a N100 billion project targeted at diversifying the nation’s economy.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Warri, Delta State, weekend, National chairman, Hoscon, Dr Mike Emuh, said, the nation has been over-depending on oil and gas. He said it has become necessary to increase investment in other sectors, especially agriculture.
Specifically, Emuh, said the N100 billion programme would boost agriculture in the oil and gas communities, thus assisting the government to reduce importation.
The Chairman, acknowledged President Muhammadu Buhari and the 9th National Assembly for their roles in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law, which provides 3 per cent allocation for the funding of Hoscon.
Also, speaking, Federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Aliyu Abubakar, said: “Let me start by applauding the company for their commitment, sometimes ambitious into making agriculture, particularly, Agribusiness as their priority.
It shows they are a serious company and they are keying into the agenda of the federal government of economic diversification by focusing on agriculture.
“We are here to support you and the ministry we do everything possible to make sure that we support you. It’s the main purpose of the ministry. And let me also thank Mr President for approving projects for implementation in the area of agriculture, empowerment, infrastructure, health, education, industrialization, and social development.
“So, in effect, we are trying to implement Mr President’s approval and directive and I assure you the ministry will do what it takes to support your trade and increase all the trade in the Federal Capital Territory including the 36 states.
We have a lot to do and let me just mention some of the roles the ministry can play in furthering the cause of the Host Landlord. This way we are responsible for industry, trade, and investment. These are the main pillars of any economy.
“But, we will support host landlords in all these areas to make sure that domestically, internationally, you export all the services that you’re producing. We make sure that we mobilize both domestic and international investment for the promotion of the company.
We will also make sure that we add value to what is being produced.”
“We are happy to say that your method on the mechanized, business-oriented programme is quite apt. We need to move away from subsistence and traditional farming to mechanized and innovative farming and that’s what the company represents. We are proud of that.
“Let me also say that apart from the role of the ministry, we will do everything possible to further other ministries, departments, and agencies.
We work with them to assist the company in any possible way we can. From this note, let me reassure you of the commitment of the minister and the ministry has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with you to serve as the basis of our collaboration and partnership.
We respect the spirit and the letter of that MoU and we will do everything possible to link you up with the entire stakeholder that you need in terms of its operation.
On this note, let me wish you well and we urge you to come to the ministry in any area that you need support and assistance.
“We hope this programme will support this country in the area of economic diversification, food security, and in exporting our products abroad. I didn’t mention in my statement the African Continental area this agreement you can key into. A market with a population of 1.2 billion.
So, you can imagine a market of 1.2 billion, we have to struggle to meet the requirement of that market. It also has a GDP of 4.3 Trillion dollars and this is an area I want the company to key in.”