Niger Delta states explore framework for region’s development

From Isaac Job, Uyo

States in the Niger Delta region under the aegis of Economic Council of the BRACED Commission have agreed to foster a framework for economic integration and development in the South south region.

The states resolved for development in the region after a meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital at the weekend with commissioners of Finance , Budget, Economic Planning/Development, Economic Advisers , Commerce/Trade Abd Investment from Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Edo states respectively.

The Director General of the Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi, who delivered a keynote address, said that the discussion with the states was necessary to accomplish the region’s desire for economic cooperation and integration through coordination and harmonization of state policies.

Read also:NDDC’s bold vision, new dawn for Niger Delta 

He explained that the Economic Council being the second highest organ of the BRACED Commission, is expected to provide the road map for cooperation and integration with the sole purpose of transforming the economy of the region to achieve their core objectives.

He mentioned the objectives to include raising the standard of living of the people, contributing to the general wellbeing, progress, and prosperity of the people of the region and Nigeria, and fostering closer relationship among the six states of the Niger Delta to be globally competitive.

Keshi maintained that, none of the objectives can be achieved without a road map that takes cognizance their present status with projection of where they will be tomorrow and the things needed to be done to get there.

“What came to mind is that, if we work hard enough, effectively cooperate, and coordinate our state policies, collectively act in tandem, we could be like the European Union that have a common standard policy on everything from economic growth, education, health, transport, communication, power, and the environment to infrastructure, especially roads and railways connecting almost the whole of Europe.

“On the other hand, if we have the courage and political will, the exposure and world view, this region could become for Nigeria what the State of California is to the United States of America,” he observed.

Keshi charged members of the BRACED Commission Economic Council, whom he described as managers of the economy in their respective states to bear the responsibility of advising their Governors to contribute in transforming the region to address underdevelopment, poverty, create employment opportunities and prosperity for its citizens.

The BRACED development plan, is geared toward articulating common policies and identify how best members of the Commission can work together to achieve their common aspiration (regional long-term goals supported by short term targets and a robust monitoring/reporting system) amongst others.

Some of the Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries who spoke on the sideline of the meeting applauded the commission’s initiative and appealed that the intension must be supported by political will to drive the development of the BRACED states.

Akwa Ibom Commissioners for Economic Development and Finance, Mr. Emem Bob and Dr. Linus Nksn in their executive summary at the meeting said, BRACED states are blessed to occupy a prime position in the Nigerian economy.

They suggested among other things that, there was urgent need to plan and pull resources together to achieve a momentous development leap, especially in the light of competition amongst regions.

Others who also presented executive summaries for harmonizing the BRACED Commission framework are; Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries from Edo, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa and Delta States.

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