Managing Director,Â OkomuÂ OilÂ Palm Company Plc, Mr. Graham Hefer, has said that the state governmentâ€™s unrelenting drive for sustainable investment is paving the way for the companyâ€™s numerous expansion projects.
Hefer made the submission during an interview with journalists in Udo, Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State.
He said the focus on institutional reforms and infrastructural development by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration provided a window of opportunity for the company to expand its portfolio and push for more investments in the state.
Noting that the drive would create jobs and improve the stateâ€™s economy, he said the company has been able to expand its oil palm plantation by over 11, 000 hectares.
Hefer added, â€œIn the last three years, the company has expanded by 10, 000 hectares in Ovia North West Local Government Area. With the expansion we expect to double our current volumes in the next five years.
â€œThe company has commenced construction of two newÂ oilÂ mills. The first mill will be completed in year 2020 while the second will follow up a year after.â€
Hefer explained that the companyâ€™s present mill is being expanded to produce 75 tons of palmÂ oilÂ per hour from its current 60 tons capacity, noting, â€œAll of these are as a result of the increased production expected from the recent extension II project. The state governmentâ€™s investment drive for sustainable development aided our expansion project. On account of all these, people are now taking us seriously.â€
Hefer commended the governor for the drive to attract investors to the state, highlighting the governorâ€™s spirited efforts to sell the state to investors across the globe. â€œI commend the governor who has been busy interfacing with potential investors visiting the state.Â Things are looking promising for investors in the state,â€ he said.
He added that with the institutional reforms being implemented, â€œthe state government ministries, agencies and department are now looking more professional in dealing with private investors in the state. We are now having a better relationship with the government officials.â€
â€œWe are experiencing a two-way communication with government officials in ministries, which we have not had in the past. When there are issues we donâ€™t understand, we pick up the phone and talk with the officials to get clarification,â€ Hefer averred.
On the effort of the government on infrastructural development, he noted, â€œI hope to see the Gelegele Seaport and Industrial Park projects completed very quickly. On our part as a company, we are studying how these projects will benefit us in the short and medium terms.â€