Dickson’s Bayelsa State Failed to Invest, Industrialize
Investment and industrialization are twin concepts that are often interchangeably used in modern world economic system.
Industrialization is the process by which an economy is transformed from primarily agricultural to be one based on manufacturing of goods, where individual’s manual labour is often replaced by mechanized mass production and craftsmen are replaced by assembly lines while, in the economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not immediately consumed but are used in the future to create wealth.
In this circumstance, Bayelsa’s economic growth can be encouraged through the use of sound industrialization and investment policies at the business level. But at no point in recent times have calls for Bayelsa State to inquire into the nature and know causes of the wealth of nations through sound industrialization and investment policies been stronger than they have been lately.
Across the length and breadth of the world, Industrialization and investment are arguably the most talked about subjects among policymakers. So why have industrialization and investment processes in Bayelsa State failed to take-off in order to move the State to an enviable economic height.
Industrialization, Investment and water projects etc, in Yenagoa and its environments have been the campaign promises of the Restoration Administration-led by Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson with its acknowledged ability to bring prosperity, create jobs, employment opportunities with better incomes for all Bayelsans in 2012.
Yet, six years of the Restoration Administration, 2012-2018, Bayelsa State with its huge Oil and Gas deposits including its 13% Derivation Fund amounting to over #10bn monthly has no single industry nor investments for the youths and women to engage in the economic sector of the State.
In fact, the 13% Derivation Fund, Bayelsa receives monthly from the Federation Account is adequate to set up small-scale/agro-allied industries and investment opportunities to promote economic growth of the State; rather the State has remained stagnant without any industry of investments over the past six years.
Also, Bayelsa with its huge Oil and Gas deposits that accounted for more than 40% of Nigeria’s total oil revenue, yet this percentage that comes to Bayelsa has been grossly misused by its political leaders that lack entrepreneurial and investment initiatives.
As a result, Bayelsa’s industrialization and investment processes are likely to remain unattainable throughout the life span of the present administration which would come to an end by 14th February 2020. Besides, many Bayelsans thought the boom in 13% derivation would restore Bayelsa’s lack of industrialization and investment opportunities, but it failed to live up to the expectation of the people all these years.
Instead of effectively utilizing the 13% derivation fund to set up small-scale agro-allied industries and investment opportunities to stimulate the economic-sector of the State, the State under the Restoration Administration wastes the money on non-productive ventures such as visits to so-called Ijaw leaders in their various States, organized political rallies called mega rallies in support of this and that and even women prayer groups etc to the detriment of the State economy.
So also, Governor Dickson, who attended and fully participated in an Oil and Gas Summit, held in Houston Texas about two years ago in USA has neither attracted Industries nor Investors to establish industries and investments opportunities in Bayelsa to date.
Even, the Industrial Estate, an area of land developed as a site for factories and other industrial businesses located at Gbarain-Toru, a brainchild of the Restoration Administration is today moribund as no efforts are made to revamp and kick-start the project all this while.
States like Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross-River just to mention a few for instance effectively use their 13% derivation fund to set up small-scale agro-allied industries, investment opportunities including solving short-term domestic and economic problems such as regular payment of salaries of civil servants and pensioners in their respective States; the reverse is the case with Bayelsa State.
Has Bayelsa leader heeded to advice from experts and pump the 13% derivation fund into productive ventures of the economy of the State, prosperity and economic well-being of the people could have been different today.
For how long will the State government forsake these organized groups dancing at political and mega rally activities and women prayers groups for stipends for a meaningful economic venture that will pilot the State to the Glory of All Lands remain a mirage.
According to Modern World System Theory, two systems exist side by side and are continuously in conflict with one another namely; Economic and Political Systems. While the Economy is the Sub-structure with its economic benefits derivable from the four factors of production known worldwide; politics is the super-structure that is superimposed on the economy for its continuity and existence.
Therefore Bayelsans must not depend on the super-structure which is politics for existence rather the people of the State must depend on the sub-structure otherwise called the economy for survival. The basic problem of how social order and human progress can be possible in a society is where individuals follow their own self-interest and not to rely on politics for survival, because individualism will lead to order and progress.
It is a well known fact that in order to make money; people produce things that other people are willing to buy and not surely from political platforms, mega rally dances and women group prayer sessions for a living.
Therefore what the Restoration government should do, if it really has the interest of the people it governs at heart in this trying period is to provide a sound economic policy that is geared toward setting-up small-scale agro-allied businesses, industries and investment opportunities that will engage the youths and women groups into productive ventures based on the concepts of economic liberty.