Govt Determined To Enhance Revenue, Jobs Creation, Agas Assures

BY VINCENT ANIKWUSHE
THE Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), Rt. Hon. Festus Ovie Agas, has said that the State Government will stop at nothing in vigorously pursuing any venture that will increase the revenue base of the state as well as create jobs and wealth for the teeming unemployed youths in the state in line with the SMART agenda.
Hon. Agas stated this in his office in Asaba during a briefing by the team leader of participants of the Post-Mortem Sub-Committee from Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Prof. Afolabi Popoola after their visit to the Kaolin deposit site at Ukwu-Nzu in Aniocha North Local Government Area.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, office of the SSG, Mr. Jerome Morka, Hon. Agas said their visit to Delta State and the Kaolin deposit site was apt and a welcome development, particularly now that oil revenue was dwindling, coupled with the need to diversify the nation’s economy to the solid minerals and other sectors.
He posited that the state government was ready and prepared to explore other sources of revenue to shore up the revenue base of the state, noting that over-dependence on oil revenue at the expense of other sources of revenue was already taking its toll on the nation’s economy due to fall in oil price.
“We will do the needful to ensure that solid minerals that abound in Delta State are harnessed. We are in a hurry to develop our state and bring prosperity to all Deltans”.
Prof. Popoola, in his remarks, had told the SSG that the Kaolin deposit at Ukwu-Nzu was in commercial quantity, disclosing that if harnessed, it would increase the revenue of Delta State and the nation at large.
He emphasised that it was high time “we diversified our economy to the solid minerals sector”, saying that it was no longer news that the dwindling oil revenue was already having adverse effect on the economy of the nation.
He disclosed that a committee which would include representatives of the State and Federal Governments and relevant stakeholders would be set up to explore the possibility of mining the solid mineral deposits in the state.
He, however, warned those involved in artisanal (illegal) mining activities in the state to stop, and obtain a license, pointing out that Delta and Federal Governments were losing huge revenue from their illegal mining activities.
He sued for peace and cooperation of host communities of the solid minerals in the state when mining of the solid minerals commences, adding that host communities would benefit immensely such as job opportunities, construction of roads, among others.
He commended the state government for its hospitality, saying that Delta State may take the lead in the solid mineral sector if necessary machineries were put in place.
In her remarks, the State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barr (Mrs.) Mary Iyasere said that the state government was interested in harnessing the solid mineral deposits in the state, stressing that the state government will apply for a license to that effect.
Earlier, the traditional ruler of Ukwu-Nzu Kingdom, HRM Obi Christopher Ogoh, had expressed his happiness and enthusiasm for the mining of Kaolin in his community, saying that he eagerly awaits the commencement of the mining activities.