Laying Out Excellence in the Gateway State

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Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the various projects and programmes the new administration in Ogun State has embarked upon to improve the lot of the people

In a modern economy, for focused and qualitative governance, premium is placed on creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The government spends a huge fortune in the provision of road infrastructures, power, security and others to attract potential investors. Ogun State is endowed with both natural resources and human capital and none of the successive administrations has turned its back on the need to make the state an investment destination. Without mincing words, the Dapo Abiodun government is providing an enabling environment for Public, Private Sector Partnership, which is fundamental to the economic growth of the state.

Be it manufacturing, banking, agriculture, commerce or tourism, Ogun State business environment has become much sought-after. Daily, various discussions and engagements are conducted by the governor and his crack economic team, led by Chief Dapo Okuboyejo. These engagements lead to signing of business transactions with the state government for a promising future for the Gateway state.

The state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun means well and is poised to make a difference, particularly coming from the private sector. He will add value to the economy of the state by shoring up its internally generated revenue (IGR) base. He is not leaving any stone unturned. Global Diary Limited, the manufacturer of the Irish Dairy Milk, recently visited the governor to discuss setting up a manufacturing plant in the state.

In aid of the novel project, the governor, Abiodun, pledged the commitment of the administration to have a world class ranch that would be created through Public, Private Partnership. The ranch, according to him, is to ensure that the Kara market located at Isheri, in Ifo Local Government Area of the state (contiguous to Lagos State) is given a facelift. He averred that the southwest governors have taken a definite position on the raging open cattle grazing and the decision is binding on all the concerned states in the region. 

“I am glad about the opportunity the agricultural sector offers to the state. Agriculture, being one of the biggest pillars of this administration, could help boost the Internally Generated Revenue and also help reduce the rate of unemployment in the state.

“This administration would establish an investment promotion agency to drive the public, private partnership agenda. The attention is also being paid to livestock, and the proximity of Ogun state to other states could help to make it the food basket of the nation.”

Besides, another Chinese firm has indicated interest in investing in the agricultural sector of the state through the Public, Private Partnership Programme.

A team from the African Development Bank (AfDB) recently embarked on a three-day visit to the state, where it met with the government on how to tap the business potentials in attracting core investors into the state. 

Also recently, while playing host to the Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, the governor solicited the collaboration of the council to foster the promotion of seamless export of goods and services from the state.

He reaffirmed his administration’s plan to integrate into the Central Bank of Nigeria’s framework, which he said, was meant to ban the provision of foreign exchange for some listed food items.

Abiodun said that once foreign exchange was removed from food items like rice, maize and cassava, the local demand for the items would be stimulated, thereby helping to promote local production of such items.

He noted that his administration would focus on producing cassava, rice and maize, with the belief that it would help to stimulate the local economy.

He added that the state government would be engaging the Central Bank through its different programmes and would also issue Certificate of Ownership (CofO) to the farmers in order to give legitimacy to their trade.

The Chief Executive Officer, Irish Diary Milk, Global, Samir Boudjada, noted that his organisation decided to choose the state because of its proximity to Lagos state, a strategic location, in addition to having passed all the required tests.

“This is the ultimate state for us, the feedback is really positive and we are looking forward to being part of this private partnership and creating jobs in Nigeria.

“This is the gateway state close to Lagos and you know when you are sighting a factory, you need certain parameters, we need a seaport that we can export out our goods. As a result, Ogun State is strategically relevant to the business of this nature and we did not mistake, Ogun State has passed all the tests”, he said.

Also, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc has keyed into exploiting the business potential of the state.

The Group Managing Director of the bank, Adesola Adeduntan, commended the efforts of the governor for his giant stride in providing the basic infrastructures to stimulate business growth and development.

“His pedigree as a private sector player will inspire confidence in other private sector people to come. We trust you and we will do everything humanly possible to drive investment to Ogun State under your watch. We know you will protect investors and ensure profitability of ventures brought about to the Gateway State,” said Adeduntan.

Abiodun believes that the administration could live up to its vision of creating an enabling environment for public private partnership that could lead to the economic prosperity of the state.

“If the state prospers, the people would also prosper.” We will take the issue of security very serious and this is where we are going to require your support and partnership. We cannot say we want to increase the ranking of Ogun State on the global list of doing business index if there are kidnapping, abduction, armed robbery, cultism and other violent crimes all over the place. So, we need to have a peaceful and secured state and we are deeply committed to that,” the governor.

The governor noted that his administration wants to ensure adequate access to the state and also, would be able to move people between Ogun State and other states.

––Ogbonnikan is Media Consultant to the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun