Ekiti Seeks $100m from World Bank, AfDB to Build Airport, Others

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· Seals $5m investment deal with Promasidor

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Ekiti State Government yesterday disclosed that it had approached the World Bank and African Development Bank seeking $100 million loan to build Ekiti Knowledge Zone, Special Agriculture Processing Zone, Ado-Akure road and Ekiti Airport.

The state government, also, disclosed that it had partnered Nigeria’s leading food and beverage giant, Promasidor Nigeria Limited for $5 million investment to revamp the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm located at Ikun Ekiti, Moba Local Government Area.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua made the disclosure at a news conference he addressed in Ado Ekiti yesterday, noting that the plan of the state governor, Mr. Kayode Fayemi to take Ekiti to greater height.

In 2015, the administration of former Governor Ayodele Fayose pioneered the airport project with a projection of about N3.5 billion along Ado-Ijan road. But the project was stalled due to litigations instituted by some farmers whose farms were destroyed and were not paid adequately compensated.

At the news conference yesterday, Olumilua explained that the airport project and others “are accorded priority because it would ensure that Ekiti becomes the hub of Nigeria’s service and knowledge industry, leading agricultural centre. They will also improve connectivity for business and recreational travellers.”

The commissioner noted that the state would also scout for investors “to drive Ikogosi Warm Spring and Resort, Fountain Hotels, and Ire Clay Bricks Limited and make them operate in full capacities to generate more revenues and create additional jobs.”

He explained that the shareholder agreement for the new company that would be formed “to manage the dairy farm would retain Promasidor as the core investor, while the state will retain a minority interest, through its investment company, Fountain Holdings.

“This will attract a new investment of $5 million into Ikun Dairy Farm, which will be used to buy equipment, provide the appropriate herd of cattle, and develop an out-grower scheme for providing feed for the cattle.

“When the farm is fully operational, it will create hundreds of jobs directly, and indirectly and also improve the economy of the host community, surrounding communities, and Ekiti State at large”, he said.

Olumilua noted that the Fayemi administration was ready “to defray the N57 billion owed by the last administration being accumulation of outstanding salaries of workers, pension, gratuities and other emoluments.

“Fayemi has ensured regular payments of salaries since he came last year October. Before the advent of this administration, workers and our people were owed salaries for reasons known to them and all they were getting is a sachet of rice and between N200 and N500 under the stomach infrastructure scheme.

“We have been able to change the narratives. Before we came, all major business owners and development partners had fled Ekiti. The only visible people doing businesses in Ekiti are the Yahoo boys. But we are gradually returning the trust and reclaiming our glory back.”

He said a total of 85,000 pupils are being fed daily through the federal government powered school feeding scheme, noting that the programme in conjunction with the free education policy “have shored up enrolment in schools.

“It is now compulsory for all children of school age to be enrolled in schools and any parent who defies this executive order will be held accountable”.