From Nwadike Ugochukwu, Port Harcourt
In a concerted effort geared towards supporting federal government’s diversification plans, President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce (PHCCIMA), Dr. Emi Membere-Otaji has assured the management of Total Exploration and Production Company that his members’ companies will invest in the construction and development of the clay manufacturing industry located at Egi in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The PHCCIMA President’s remark was the outcome of a meeting between management of PHCCIMA, Total Exploration and Production Company, the Rivers state government, stakeholders of Egi community, foreign technical partners and management of Zenith Bank at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt aimed at wooing PHCCIMA members to invest in the Egi Clay industry project..
Membere-Otaji who said PHCIMA’s objective is to ensure that businesses thrive includes ensure value for its vast membership stressed that if investing in the clay industry will bring about success for the project the chamber will rally its members to invest and also bring their value to bear on the project. According to him there are positives to the project when completed as it will contribute to stimulating the local economy, create sustainable development, a bustling community, including investment opportunities that shall provide the state with another economic frontier outside dependence on oil.
“PHCCIMA is excited over this project, especially as part of the bigger plan by Total for developing an industrial park in Egi community. We must commend Total for facilitating this project – especially knowing that Total and PHCCIMA have a long history of progressive relationship; today’s event marks another opening which our organization is more than willing to take by working closely with the various stakeholders as a step forward to also aid the diversification effort of the federal government”.
Representative of the foreign partner Cleai had said the Clay factory when completed is expected to produce fortified clay bricks and roofing sheets. He said Cleai is a 21st century French building innovation company that will provide the huge plant needing investment to produce the products. He said Cleai company is committed to developing a building technology that is more economical and practical, better and safe for the environment and contributes to better building for all public programmes and private project.
Earlier speaking, the Deputy General Manager of Total Exploration and Production Company , Mr. Cyprian Ojum and the Sustainable Development and Enterprise Development Manager, Mr. Philippe Desriac had said the meeting was premised on the need to seek PHCCIMA’s partnership in the area mobilizing her membership to invest in the project. Investment according to them will successfully guarantee acquisition of equity stake in the company. Similarly, there was also consensus among representative of Total that PHCCIMA’s involvement will be key to actualizing the project as major drivers of the organized private sector and with a major objective of ensuring that businesses thrive.
Speaking on why Egi was chosen for the project, the total DMD said Egi has the raw material required for the project in huge commercial quantity. According to him there are natural deposit of clay reserve that has been specified suitable for the brick and roofing sheets and has made the area accessible for the pilot scheme of the industry. He said Total E&P commitment to the project among other things is to provide gas required to blast the clay and run the industrial park.
The Total DMD, had earlier said the project is another way of giving back and ensuring sustainable development for a community that has provided crude in commercial quantity including gas which has been explored since 1957. “Nothing can be more appropriate as providing the means of empowerment for the people, stimulating the local economy, create avenues of sustainable development in a way that will promote Federal governments diversification plans in the same community our company has benefitted” he said, adding that the clay industry is part of the company’s plan for an industrial park for the OML58 communities.
The Rivers state government represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Mr Isaac Okemni described the project as laudable. He said the industry which will be environmental friendly will lead to the production of cements using clay and employing more than 300 qualified job seekers to create chains and vistas of opportunities for the state.