By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that arrangements are in top gear to attract a sum of $100 million from development partners in aid of critical infrastructures in the state.
Fayemi said some development partners have visited the state on how best they can collaborate with his administration in the areas of investment and economic empowerment for the people of the state.
The governor disclosed this while rendering account of his stewardship and receiving feedback from chairmen and secretaries of community development associations and town unions in his hometown, Isan Ekiti.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, Fayemi said his administration has injected some valuable inputs into the system to make Ekiti marketable to local and foreign investors.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, revealed that the community leaders at the forum hailed Fayemi for touching every nook and cranny of the state with visible projects that have made life easier for residents.
The governor said that from the beginning of year 2020, the state will witness massive construction of rural roads in a bid to tackle one of the problems militating against agriculture and rural development, one of the five pillars of his administration.
Fayemi told the elated representatives of communities that a total of 1,000 kilometres of rural roads will either be reconstructed of rehabilitated, while dredging of waterways for erosion control is already ongoing.
The 2020 fiscal year, the governor added, will witness renovation of all public schools to engender more conducive teaching and learning environment for pupils and teachers while grants were recently approved for the schools.
While restating the commitment of his administration towards providing an enabling environment for socio-economic development, Fayemi appealed to community leaders to always release land for prospective investors who want to use it for either industrial or agricultural purposes.
The governor revealed that some of the community initiated and self help project abandoned by the last administration have been given attention with some completed and commissioned for use.
Fayemi explained that the state had witnessed the commissioning of 36 projects through the support of the World Bank with an affirmation to complete all other projects within the allotted scope of time.
The governor used the opportunity to give account of his investment drive within and outside the country which are yielding fruits in agriculture, industrialisation and other key sectors of the state’s economy.
He said: “On the economic situation of the state, this administration has taken pragmatic approach by engaging and partnering development agencies and multinational organisations with a view to getting them to invest in our state.
“To boost our our infrastructure development, efforts are in top gear to attract a sum of $100 million to be invested in some critical infrastructures that are important to the acceleration of the socioeconomic development of our dear state.
“For example, Promasidor has taken over Ikun Dairy Farm, and this is expected to provide jobs for our youths, improve our internally generated revenue and enhance the socio-economic standard of our people.
“To realising our dream of optimising the full potential of our relationship with development partners, we have paid huge counterpart funds to many agencies, which has culminated to tremendous support that we have received, while others are under processing for Ekiti development.”
Fayemi highlighted the abolition of taxes on education, free health for the aged and vulnerable children, regular payment of salaries, subventions and pensions, building workers capacity, reduced backlog of gratuities as part of his achievements in the last one year.
Others included the recruitment process to fill vacancies into the civil service, Teaching Service Commission and board of technical schools, reintroduction of elderly monthly allowance tagged “Owo Arugbo” with the addition of “Ounje Arugbo” an initiative of the wife of the governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, aimed at feeding the elderly, among others.
Fayemi, while soliciting for continuous cooperation on how to boost the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state, assured the people that his administration would continue to invest in participatory governance, social investments, knowledge economy, agricultural and rural development, and infrastructural and industrial development to move the state forward.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Development in the state, Prof. Adio Folayan, explained that the forum was to give room for discussion on issues bordering on the development of the state.
The commissioner commended Fayemi for running an open and transparent administration by creating an avenue where community leaders can directly relate with the governor and ‘hear about the journey so far from the horse’s mouth.’
Folayan described the forum as the “beauty and benefit of democratic system to have a platform where leaders of communities will freely share their views with the government without any fear of molestation.
He said Fayemi is committed to working assiduously round the clock to make sure that Ekiti is better than he met it and providing an enabling environment for business to thrive and engagement of international organisations to assist the state.