By Femi Ogbonnikan
A n impressive investment drive of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led administration in Ogun State, aided by the provision of an enabling business environment has, no doubt, given confidence to potential investors to site their industries in the state.
Seven years ago when the present APC administration assumed office, little did anybody know that the Ogun, once reputed to be a partial civil-service state, could turnaround to become the industrial giant in Nigeria and in the West African sub-region.
From a N730 million monthly internally generated revenue (IGR) the present administration inherited on May 29, 2011, the present administration has grown the monthly revenue to N7 billion.
In 2011, Ogun state ranked 35th in terms of doing business, but the story later changed positively by February 2014 when it was rated number four in the country. Subsequently, between 2014 and 2015, the state recorded a giant stride with 54.5 per cent direct investment that has made it the industrial hub of the country. There has been a total of 304 new industries in the state in the last seven years, while in the last two years, a total of 148 industries, with financial outlay of between $200 million and $2 billion, have opened shop in the state.
Speaking at the Ogun State investorsâ€™ forum 2018 press conference with the theme: â€œconsolidating the grains, accelerating growthâ€, ahead of the two-day event scheduled to hold fromÂ Tuesday, March 20 to Wednesday, March 21, Amosun said that his administration had embarked on a giant stride in industrialising the state through the provision of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
According to him, his administration predicates its development on three key areas-agriculture, industry and technology-to consolidate its gains and accelerate growth.
Unlike in the past before he assumed office as the executive governor of the state, Amosun disclosed that the government he inherited on May 29, 2011 was partially civil service-driven, but that they were able to unleash the potentials of the state and transform it to an industrial giant.
â€œIn the manufacturing business in Nigeria, we have diversified the economy for us to grow in Ogun State. We have demonstrated this with the investors and entrepreneurs. We have created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
â€œSo, about 148 companies have established shops and invested between 200 million dollars and 2 billion dollars in the last two years. Every day, new investors come to us in a bid to establish their businesses here in Ogun State. But, we want to take development and growth in Ogun State beyond the industrial hub of the country.
â€œWhen we came onboard, we came with five cardinal programmes and, thank God, today Ogun State is out of the doldrums. Things are now taking shape. In the comity of states, in terms of IGR, Ogun State is second in position. Initially, upon assumption of office in 2011, we were generating N730 million as IGR monthly but now, we are generating N7 billion monthly. We have the potentials. We have large expanse of land. With agriculture, we want to leverage on value chains.
â€œOur aim is to consolidate all gains and to accelerate growth. We want to concentrate on what we have achieved. We want to exploit specific growth. We will collaborate with investors and entrepreneurs. In totality, we are looking at human endeavours. Of all these giant strides, we are proud of these developments in Ogun State,â€ said Amosun.
However, the governor bemoaned the sharing formula arising from the 35 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), that accrues to the state, despite being the industrial hub of the country with the largest number of manufacturing companies, spread across the state.
The state, he said is now placed in 26th position. â€œIt means something is wrong. And that is why we are working towards improving on that,â€ said the governor. The governor noted that his administration was poised to diversify into the agricultural sector to enhance growth and development of the state.
â€œWe want to exploit the potentials of specific growth. Clearly, we are growing from industry to agriculture. In totality, we are looking at human endeavours, consolidating the gains and accelerating growth. In the area of technology, we want to be part of those growths,â€ said Amosun.
Besides, in actualisation of the state governmentâ€™s vision of agricultural production and industrialisation of the state, the government has put in place specific strategies to aid and enhance the development and growth of the sub-sector. And these include; access to land/security, land clearing and mechanisation, inputs availability and delivery, access to finance, infrastructure, among others.
Furthermore, offering, perhaps the best incentives any government at any level can ever offer the private sector operators, land in Ogun State for agricultural purposes is now to be developed 80 per cent off the market price. Also, the land to be developed for manufacturing, housing estate and schools, it was gathered, attracts discounts ranging from 40 per cent to 75 per cent from the Federal government.
As a result, these are the kind of incentives that will get investors and entrepreneurs up and running to serve as catalyst for economic growth and development of the state.
Therefore, the administration of Amosun is leaving no stone unturned by exploiting the comparative advantages Ogun State has in terms of agriculture and its proximity to Lagos State, in order to wet the investorsâ€™ appetite.