Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government said Monday that it had begun the search for other mineral resources to compete or complement the exploitation of crude oil in the state.
Mr. Markson Fefegha, the new commissioner in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, during his first meeting with senior staff of the ministry said plans were already underway to acquire equipment that will enable the geological services department to investigate and map out the state to identify the different minerals aside oil.
He said the ministry would collaborate with multinationals to give them the enabling environment to operate, adding that there was also a plan to draw direct funding from investors like the World Bank, African Development Bank and the China Exim Bank.
Fefegha, who had just been redeployed from the Ministry of Education noted that given the right funding, the target of the ministry was to help the state increase its Internally Generated Revenue to N5 billion monthly.
“With our resources on ground, if we explore them very well, we will be able to bring good IGR to the state. The highest IGR in the state has been N2billion but by the time we will be rounding off, we will be having about N5billion as IGR if we are given the financial backing and the political will to drive the policies that we want to establish,” he added.
On creating the right environment for oil and gas activities, Fefegha noted that he had the responsibility to ensure that the IOCs have a peaceful operating environment so that disputes are promptly resolved.
“We will be building refineries in the state very soon, the modular refinery. The federal government has given the order through the Ministry of Niger Delta and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“We will collaborate to build the refineries so that we can create employment and wealth for the state. We are going to treat the community leaders and those who will have one kind of dispute or the other with oil companies with respect. We won’t treat them as criminals or hoodlums.
“The mineral resources are veritable tools for improved internally generated revenue in every society. Our state is dependent on oil. But we have other mineral resources we have not utilized and left them latent.
“So, it is time we sent our geologists to explore them and ensure that they become useful. By the time we round off this administration, the IGR through this ministry will have appreciated tremendously,” he concluded.