Friends of Ondo Lure Investors

THISDAY Newspaper- Lola Adewoyin

In recent times, various tiers of government in Nigeria have discovered that it is impossible for government to fund all projects alone and so have started looking elsewhere for support. Not to be left out in the bid to attract investors, Ondo State government, in collaboration with Lornview International Limited, an indigenous company, invited friends of the state to a gathering in Lagos for an elaborate discussion on “Exploring New Economic Opportunities in Ondo State.”

In his welcome address at the gathering, Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko explained that investment opportunities abound in the state. He said, "I stand in front of you this morning to say without any equivocation, that there are a myriad of economic opportunities in our state and also to assure you of the readiness of government to partner with serious investors who are desirous of keying in to the vision of our administration for rapid industrialisation. Actually, no better time can be more auspicious than now for this type of economic meeting, because our administration has put in place, a well-proven and globally-accepted business policy template to activate the industrial base of Ondo State and the concomitant expansion of other sectors of the economy.

"While we believe in a liberalised private-sector driven economy, extant experiences the world over have validated the synergetic effects of the partnership of initiatives between the public and private sectors in driving developments. While public sector involvement curtails the propensity for corporate greed on the part of the private sector and injects a sense of social responsibility, the commercialisation of joint ventures reduces the notorious inefficiency associated with public institutions. Also, it is true that no single government can shoulder the burden of infrastructure development in the face of dwindling revenues and ever-increasing development demands.

"Therefore, PPP has proven a roaring success and an iconic model in solving problems of inner city decays and urban areas of metropolitan cities in the US and Europe. It is also becoming the preferred template for economic expansion and business option for a lot of investors in developing countries where services and infrastructure are traditionally inefficiently managed."
Mimiko said there are areas where this type of partnership can be of mutual economic benefit to investors and government. He disclosed that Olokola Free Trade Zone (FTZ) should be an investor's delight, "since our administration is poised to catalyse economic activities derivable from investments in maritime port operations. The exploration and commercial exploitation of the state's mineral resources, the state's high tourism potential, the largely underdeveloped agricultural sector, particularly in the downstream processing of cocoa and palm produce are areas all begging for investors' attention.

"In Ondo State, our administration has been able to achieve strategic partnership in mass housing, food processing, the facilitation of a technology village, automobile engineering, Ondo State gas master plan, Ore Sunshine City, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre, tourism village, cement production, oil palm revolution, commercial rice production and processing among others. Therefore, in our cardinal objective for the rapid development and transformation of Ondo State, we have embarked on the PPP option and we intend to make the state a haven for investors through our investor-friendly business climate."

In his address at the occasion, Chairman, Implementation Committee of the Summit, Abimbola Oladapo thanked the State Governor for acceding to his company's request to host the friends of the state gathering to showcase the power of synergy with the private sector, which typifies the central crux of the gathering, as it is a classical example of public private partnership.
Oladapo said, "We consider it a great honour and privilege to have been given the unique opportunity to stage this event. We are confident that the fallout from this event will not only be positive, but also phenomenal. We did advise the governor and his team that staging the first leg of the summit in Lagos would be a great idea, particularly knowing that Lagos is the commercial nerve centre of the nation. I'm sure the quality of the people here today and the enormous economic potentials derivable from this gathering will attest to our assertion.”

Oladapo said the wind of change blowing across the world has gotten to Ondo State and "I am happy to tell you that Governor Mimiko is right at the centre. This is the defining moment in the life of Ondo State when his Excellency is taking a decisive action to make progress through multifaceted support systems inclusive of the Public Private Partnership. It is often said that it is a fool that does the same thing at all times and expects a different result. His Excellency and his team left Ondo State for Lagos to solicit for support in terms of building Ondo State into an enviable and model state. The Ondo State government is calling on the private sector to join hands with her on various projects that will radically enhance the lives of its people; it is on record that the governor’s achievements in the last one year are highly impressive with lots of on-going and completed projects.”

Describing who is qualified to be called a "friend of Ondo State," Oladapo, an indigene of the state, said "all of us at this gathering qualify to be the friends of the state working for the common good of Ondo State. Ondo State is being repackaged to make it a great and model state. This needs the concerted effort of all stakeholders. The governor, as the number one citizen of the state, has put his hands on the plough and there is no looking back. It is often said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step; he has taken a bold step towards ridding the state of poverty in the midst of plenty. He wants all of us to join hands together, particularly under the PPP arrangement, to rapidly build the state that has so much resources.
"The vision of the government is to broaden the economic base, create more jobs for the teaming population, address infrastructural issues, and make a model state with effective government that is business friendly."

To underscore the seriousness of the state government in the quest to attract investors to the state, Oladapo quoted Mimiko’s letter to investors, where the governor noted that, "our desire to build a great stat e with strong economic base cannot be actualised without the active participation of the organised private sector. Kindly therefore, collaborate with us to translate our dream of making Ondo State a model state, a place of pride for all."
At the event in Lagos, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, spoke on the topic, "Attracting Private Sector Investors to Promote Economic Development." Chief Audu Ogbe, on the other hand, spoke on "Agricultural Development", while Professor Sylvester Adegoke spoke on "Available Mineral Resources in Ondo State.”

Speaking at the event, Ohuabunwa highlighted areas of investment available in the state, which include, bitumen, with the state having the second largest deposit in the world, kaolin, salt, cocoa, oil palm, cashews, timber, rubber and fisheries. Also in the area of tourism, he said the vast potentials in the Idanre Hills are yet to be fully tapped.
He also listed various investment opportunities in hydrocarbons to include crude oil and natural gas. He said manpower, in the area of the academia, skilled professionals and businesses are also available in abundance in the state.

In a post mortem of the event, Oladapo said the response from would-be investors have been overwhelming. He advised potential investors to seize the opportunity of Ondo’s peaceful state, unlike most states in the Niger Delta, to invest in oil and gas, agriculture, bitumen and other areas, with an assurance that a change in government will not in anyway affect their investments.
Oladapo said Lornview is working in collaboration with the state government to put an economic team in place, to oversee implementation of the various investments and ensure that they are devoid of the well-known civil service bureaucracy and other vices.

He explained that already, several companies, both domestic and foreign, have been indicating interest in all areas of investment opportunities in the state, including an Italian company that has shown interest in solar electrification, a South African company which has shown interest in bitumen and an Israeli company that is showing interest in investment in the agricultural sector.
He said the state government is proposing another summit in Abuja, which is slated for August 24, 2010. The chief organiser explained that the Abuja event would further showcase the investment opportunities available in the state to investors, after which another one will hold in the state capital, Akure, to make investors feel the pulse of the state and bring them face to face with all the investment opportunities waiting to be tapped.


Your comment






News Archive