Speaking in Asaba on 06/11/15, when the National President of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Comrade Igwe Achese led members of his executive to pay him a courtesy call, Senator Okowa said the dwindling revenue from oil has become a major challenge that must be tackled through partnership between the state and federal government to diversify the economy.
According to him, the oil and gas sector was not the only sector being affected by the nose-dive in the price of oil, disclosing that the construction sector has been greatly affected and urgent steps must be taken to address the situation and its attendant effects.
“We are beginning to loss jobs in the oil companies, the construction companies are even affected most because they employ more workers, especially, the youths, when they are working, the youths in their areas of operation are employed,” he stated, adding, “today, it is affecting the construction of roads and other infrastructure, we believe that with the coming of the dry season, we will be able to engage the construction companies and they will in turn, engage the youths and our people.”
While calling for patience and understanding from Nigerians and urging them to be positively engaged, Governor Okowa emphasised that the economy can be diversified with Nigerians going back to agriculture, agro-based business, small and medium scale enterprises.
He continued, “I hope the Federal and State governments will partner to find ways to diversify the economy so that we will not depend solely on oil but tap the benefits of engaging in agriculture and SMEs,” decrying situation where the gains from oil in the past were not used to prepare the country for the current down-turn in oil prices.
The Governor used the occasion to assure Deltans of his administration’s commitment to remove tankers from the road, noting that he was ready to partner with the private sector in the development of tanker parks in the state, especially in the Warri/Effurun axis.
Earlier, Comrade Achese had said they were in the state to felicitate with Senator Okowa on his electoral victory and disclosed the Union’s efforts towards ensuring that tankers were parked properly without constituting nuisance to other road users.
Comrade Achese informed the Governor that the down-turn in the oil prices has taken its toll on oil workers were nine hundred persons have been laid off in Chevron’s operations in Delta State and same was applicable in other multi-national oil companies and called for urgent steps to check the situation.