Ekiti Has No Business with Poverty Anymore, Says Govt

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

The Ekiti State Government at the weekend said its people no longer had business with poverty, citing different policies and programmes already initiated to create wealth among them.

The Commissioner for Trade and Industries in Ekiti State, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua said this at the weekend during a stakeholders’ forum on banana development for export held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

At the forum, Olumilua disclosed that the state government had entered into agreement with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to facilitate banana exportation to boost the state’s internally generated revenues.

He said: “With the measures put in place by the state government, Ekiti has no business with poverty anymore. It is a known fact the state is landlocked, and has virtually no prospect in oil production.

“The state, however, from time immemorial, has always been very rich in agriculture, and the intention of the government to make poverty history in the state has become more emboldened with the massive opportunities dotting the landscape becoming clearer. The current partnership would, in fact, further develop the economy of the state.”

Olumilua said the state was ready to partner with the federal government in its efforts at boosting the economy and turning it into a destination of choice for doing business.

Olumilua listed some of the administration’s projects to include the establishment of a cargo airport to ease transportation of goods to and from the state, clearing of 5,000 hectares of land for farming and the facilitation of the establishment of the NEPC office in the state to eliminate the stress of going to Akure before exporters can assess the support of the council.

He said: “Various tax incentives, as well as provision of proactive security architecture to guarantee safety of lives and property.

“The one-state-one-product (OSOP) initiative is an essential part of the zero oil plan, where all states of the federation are to identify at least one strategic export product and its alternate product, based on their comparative advantage, from which the country can earn foreign exchange.”

He, thus, urged participants to participate actively, in order to achieve the desired result of ensuring the ease of doing business, and boosting the economy of the state.

Olumilua said various programmes initiated by the Fayemi administration had created an enabling environment for investment to thrive in the state.

Olumilua explained that since the state “is one of the highest producers of banana and cassava in Nigeria, the partnership with NEPC would go a long way in supporting the agenda of tracking economic, commercial, infrastructural as well as agricultural and industrial revolution in the state.”

The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, commended Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi for his efforts at developing non-oil export products in the State.

Awolowo, who was represented by NEPC’s Regional Coordinator, Mr. Samuel Oyeyipo, lamented that the almost total reliance on oil, has left the country vulnerable to the price changes of an extremely price volatile commodity.

Awolowo said that the vision of NEPC “is to make the world a marketplace for Nigerian non-oil exports, for sustainable inclusive economic growth.

“The global outlook for bananas has been on the rise, and will continue on the upward surge in the years to come. This provides a lot of opportunity for the development of this product in Ekiti State,” he said.

He said that NEPC would continue to collaborate with the Ekiti State Government to develop non-oil export, to boost the economy of the state.