FOR Osun, an end seems to be in sight for the
economic downturn the state has for long
experienced because of the absence of a vigorous, diversified economic base. .
The state government is the leading employer of labourin the formal sector and uses a larger percentage of the meager amount received from the federating account to service largely recurrent expenditure, including wages.
The state as a result, was unable to live up to its full potentials in spite of the fact that the state has in abundance mineral resources in commercial quantity.
The just concluded economic and investment summit has not only exposed it as one ready for investment but identified sectors where willing investors can put their money.
With the submissions and assurances given by the panelists at the three-day event and the political will of the government, the state is being redirected to the path of economic revitalisation.
The summit, however, seems to have started to yield good fruits as according to report as at Thursday, before the programme was brought to a conclusion, about twenty-two investors were said to have expressed their interest in collaborating with the state government.
The areas of collaborations include: Agriculture, mining, infrastructure, health, education and Information and Communication Technology
Some of the names of the investors, both local and international were given as Some of the ready partners and investors are: Ms Manisha Dookhony, the Managing Director Rwenzon Consulting; Dr. Segun Aina, President, African Fintech Network; Mr. Muraina Oyelami, Painter/Performing Artiste; Mr U.G Muhammed, Transmission Company of Nigeria, among others.
While Ms Dookhony ‘s organisation declared its preparadness to partner with the state in setting up the necessary policies and providing immediate solutions towards creating an enabling environment while MrMuhammed pledged to partner the state to boost its power sector by providing four Sub-Stations in Osogbo, Ede, Iwo and Ife as well installing DPGW Cables from the state to several locations around the country.
Others who pledged were Mr. Folabi Ayoola, Managing Partner, Octave Partners Limited who promised to train some youths in the state on coding and programming; the Managing Director, Venture Platform promised to employ some of the trained youths; The Chairman Board of Directors, Justrite, Mr. Ayodele Aderinwale, promised more of its retail outlets would be sited in the state and manufacturers in the state would be engaged.
In addition to this, is the $118million worth of investment by a mining company based in Canada which Wale Babalakin promised to facilitate.
The N100million received from, Badger Mines a Canada -based mining, company as sign on fee for exploration and development of one of the state’s mining titles.
The minister for youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, also pledged to facilitates two vocational Centers another two digital hubs in the state.
There were also many industries and individuals who promised to explore the investment opportunities created by the government.
Also, no fewer than 45 business-to-business and business-to-government of such formal conversations took place during the summit.
Apart from this, the governor, in order to show his commitment to the ease of doing business, signed the executive order establishing the state’s investment and promotion Agency.
The governor, who disclosed this at the last day of the summit, added that he did this in order to show his administration was ready to see to the full implementation of recommendations from the summit.
In his words, “As part of efforts towards implementing the outcome of this Summit, I am happy to inform this gathering that I have just signed the Executive Order establishing the State’s Investment and Promotion Agency. This is to further demonstrate our seriousness and commitment to ease of doing business in our State.’’
While speaking at the first day of the summit governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola, had said the summit was an opportunity to share his adminstration‘sdevelopment agenda.
He added that the summit was held as way to fulfill the pledges made to revamp the economy of the state while building on the gains of his predecessors.
He said, “This Summit is thus not only a very special opportunity to share our Administration’s Development Agenda with the world, but to also showcase and cultivate new partnerships to drive our economic growth and development.
“This event also fulfills a promise. When our administration assumed office almost a year ago, we pledged to build on the phenomenal gains recorded by our forebears and to urgently chart a new course, a new pathway to economic rejuvenation.
“Osun’s vision of the future is clear. Our goal to achieve inclusive socio-economic growth is rooted in our 10-Year State of Osun Development Plan and in our manifesto. Our plan rests on four developmental pillars: Economic Development, Infrastructural Development, Human Capital Development and Security, and Environmental Sustainability”.
The governor stated that profiling had been done on of some of the sectors and key areas investors could invest have been identified.
He highlighted some of the sectors to include: Agriculture, which represents 35percent of Osun’s GDP and Mining which, at N1.3 billion per annum, currently officially represents 0.081per cent of Osun’s GDP and Culture and Tourism which contributes less than two per cent to GDP.
He expressed confidence that if the three sectors could get the needed support they would have a transformative effect on the growth and development of the state.
“As part of our process to prepare for this Summit, we embarked on a painstaking profiling of our economy with our resource partners by the identification of growth opportunities across sectors and the development of strategies to optimally drive our economic aspirations. We came up with two products – a State of the State Report, and a deep dive into a Sector-by-Sector report on the economy. These are the foundational elements of Investment Guide, to inform your curiosity about the plethora of opportunities The State of Osun represents.
“Before giving a brief synopsis of each sector, I would like to highlight the three key sectors that we are seeking investors and partners to drive our Agenda. These are Agriculture, which represents 35% of Osun’s GDP and Mining which, at N1.3 billion per annum, currently officially represents 0.081% of Osun’s GDP and Culture and Tourism which contributes less than 2% to GDP. If we can unleash the potential of these three sectors, supported by first-class infrastructure, they will have a transformative effect on our projected growth and development.”
Keeping To Agreement Reached With Investors Key
One of the major issues that were raised during the summit was the inability of government to always honouragreements entered into with the private investors.
This was attributed as a factor why many states find it very difficult to get investors to their states.
The Chairman, Bi-Courtney Group of Companies, Wale Babalakin while lamenting the development said the attraction private investors in the state was great. He however, warned that if the state must get it right, it must emphasis full adherence to agreements reached.
He urged the state government to get its best hands involved while entering into negotiations so as not to renege to fulfill it part after the agreements have been signed.
Babalakin said, ‘I hope we will honour commitments. I have seen an instance when after entering into negotiations projects are cancelled. When as government officials we celebrate the cancellation of a private sector project. You are not only losing that project but many others. That is why many states do not find it easy to attract private sector investors.
“The way to develop a nation or state is by providing an environment for private investors who have what it requires. It is saddening that we are still not creating the enabling environment. The governor is from the private sector. Let us give the impression and follow through so that we will keep to agreements.
“And at the stage of signing the agreements, the state government must have its best lawyers, accountants on ground because an agreement once it is signed cannot be changed. It is good we want a private public partnerships but it is cerebral and requires total obedience to the rule of law.”
We Will Honour All Agreements
The governor while responding assured that all agreements reached with investors would be adhered to.
He also pledged that his administration was committed the provision of an enabling environment for the investors and their businesses to thrive.
He said “On our part as government, we have the political will to support and facilitate the success of your investment. Being a modestly-accomplished private sector player myself, before joining the public sector, I know what the issues are and I assure you of The State of Osun Government’s unreserved commitment to seeing your business secure, grow and flourish. I must also mention that we are a State that faithfully abides with the doctrine of the Rule of Law.
”We have also worked very hard to institute appropriate mechanism that would aid your ease of doing business. We are strongly committed to doing even more to make your investment efforts a most pleasurable experience. “
Establishing The First Mining Institute In Nigeria
A call was made to the state government to brace up for the challenge of building the first mining institute in the state country.
Professor Zaccheus Olaniyan, Professor of Mining Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Akure who lamented the nonexistence of a mining school in the country said coming up with one in the state would the state government in it bid to use the mining sector as a driver of industrialization in the state.
He said, “We need the skills and the best way to do that based on my experience in the United States of America, Ghana and Namibia there has been no nation that has ever progressed without a standard school of mining.
We do not have one in the whole of the country despite having different kinds of mineral resources in large deposits. This has been because of policy somersaults. No doubt there are Geology departments in every school but it is not enough. Where do you train the technician, those that would go deep to do the real job?
It will be to the state advantage if they come up with just one.If the state is ready I can offer my free service.”
The Professor of mining called on the government to see the creation of center where the golds could be marketed.
“Also Osun you have a market for the gold being explored here. From the time immemorial Osogbo was the market this was sold but now they just explore and sell to black market without paying a damn to the coffers of the government.
“The government can set up a center in Osogbo where after mining they sell to the government there will be added value and the state can make a lot of money from this.
an independent Consultant advocated for a beneficial centre where the mined gold could be processed into finished products. She stated that this could generate more revenue to the state than exporting the explored gold.
Culture, Tourism Key
The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Trade and Investments, Dr. JumokeOduwole, Tunde Kilani, Theo Lawason, JadesolaOsiberu, Nike Okudaye, Professor Siyan Oyeweso, and Muraina Oyelami pointed to the fact that the state was rich in culture and traditional sites. They spoke on the need for the state to take full advantage of this in order to generate more income as well as create employment opportunities.
Osibajo said, “I am particularly very delighted visiting Osun, widely acclaimed for its rich cultural heritage, hospitality and the enterprising tradition of her people. Peaceful, virtuous, resilient and vibrant, Osun is a pride of the nation.
“As a choice tourist destination, Osun is certainly most enriched in terms of its widespread iconic tourists’ sites, globally-acclaimed festivals such as the popular Osun Osogbo festival, Olojo festival, among many others.
“Aside its fertile land which makes agriculture thrive unusually, the array of its mineral-resource blessedness, Osun is also fortunate to be home to some of the nation’s most highly gifted and accomplished citizens. Undoubtedly, Osun is a profoundly blessed state.”
One of the panelists, Mr. Tunde Kelani, CEO Mainframe Film and Television Production harped on the need to develop and upgrade all the tourist centers in the state to make them more attractive.
He also appealed to the government to see to the production of at least five movies every year to showcase to the world how rich in culture the state is.
Mr Muraina Oyelami urged the State government to establish a Museum and Art Centre in Osun to preserve the cultural and traditional heritage of the state
Professor Siyan Oyeweso on his part called on the state government to take full responsibility of the center for Black Culture And International Understanding in a bid to lay claim and be able to own it.
Industries Key To Osun Economic Growth
Members of the panels submitted that for the state to achieve the economic growth it desires, there must be an increase in industrial activities in the state.
They include: Dr Segun Aina, President Africa FintechNetwork, Mr. Oladapo Bakare, CEO, Dipson Plastic, MrBayo Jimoh, Chairman , Omoluabi Mortgage Bank, Obi Ozor , Co-Founder, Kobo 360, Mr Yusuf Adewale, CEO, Moye Oil, Mr. Zhou Bin , head, China Client Coverage, Standard Bank and Prince Tunde Ponle, Chairman, MicCom Golf Hotel and Resort.
One of the panelists, a business mogul in the state, Prince Tunde Ponle urged the Osun state government to concentrate its efforts on setting up industrial villages in the state’s federal constituencies.
He said it was necessary because industries bring about stability.
He advised that the state could start small and not necessarily in a big way by assembling local manufacturers.
Ponle spoke on the topic “Accelerating Industrial and Market Development”
“Industry brings stability. Osun should start small by building industrial villages, assemble our local manufacturers. It can be in the federal constituencies. From there, traders would buy and sell things. Abastarted small now they have 6,000 industries. The then lagos state government sent some traders to Alababecause they were causing traffic.
“The government did not provide them with buildings,all they did was give them a land. Today, Alaba is generating more income to the state. You don’t need to have tarred roads, a motorable road is enough. This will guarantee employment for our youths. “
Investment In The Youth, ICT Way To Go
The minister for Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare said there was the need for the state to consider the investment in the youths while looking to attract investors to invest in the state.
He said,” Aside from the known factor of production that we have, there is the youth. There are 67 million of them in the country and there is need to respond real quick. We need to empower our youths with digital skills. Our youths are unemployable because they lacked the needed digital skills. The data about Osun having one of the largest youth populations in the country is true. An investment in the youth will be best for the future of the state.”