Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, on Thursday said Federal Government is ready to inaugurate a $10bn infrastructural rebirth investment programme in the Niger Delta.
Kachikwu spoke at a press conference he addressed in Abuja.
The minister explained that the fund would not come from the Federal Government but from oil companies.
He said, “We will be launching a $10bn infrastructural rebirth investment programme in the Niger Delta region.
“This is not money that is going to come necessarily from the Federal Government, it is money that is going to come from oil companies, investors, individuals who are ready to do infrastructural investment.
“What is most important is not the number of the fund; it is the conceptualization of that funding. It is the fact that governors will have to come together as a regional block to begin to look at cross-state investments, whether they are roads, railways, whether they be town facilities or they be specialist hospitals.
“So, we are going to pool in energy and ensure we are looking at cross-border investments to strengthen the region.”
Kachikwu said security was going to move from the military to the oil companies.
He said the oil firms would be encouraged to work with locals to protect installations.
He argued that as long as they were productively engaged, the tendency for locals to vandalize oil installations or allow outsiders to come and destroy would be minimal.
The minister also said the President was looking into how the 13 per cent derivation was being applied.
“Right now, it is a budgeting tool for state governments. We are going to be appealing to them to begin to put quite a bit of that into the core areas of the oil-producing communities,” he said.
Kachikwu also said the government was looking critically at the amnesty programme and was working towards the eventual wind up of the programme in about one year.
“The whole idea is that within that time frame, we need to find work for the graduates because the greatest problem of the amnesty programme is that people finish through that programme and they begin to see it as a social connection point because they come out and there is nothing to do.
“So they are sucked back in into the same system from where you are trying to bring them out,” he said.