Meanwhile, the Governor and his team were at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), for the Thursday’s closing gong and fact behind the figures, to tell the investing public about the opportunities in Osun state.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, yesterday, Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, said to demonstrate his seriousness to open up the state economy ad depend less on federal allocations, the government plans to host an economic summit this month, where investors will have first-hand information on all incentives available.
In particular, the Governor, who was accompanied by a number of his executive team, recalled that Osun was reputed as the largest producer of cocoa in the past, upon which the then Federal Government depended on for revenue before the advent of oil, and now plans to return to that prime position.
Besides cocoa, he affirmed that Osun is host to at least 10 mineral deposits, including Gold (the largest in the country), amethyst, tourmaline, granite and others, stressing that the forthcoming Economic Summit, will not be a talk-show like many other previous ones, as his Government is ready to walk the talk under a public-private-partnership (PPP) model.
To this end, Oyetola disclosed that the state has embarked on economic reforms aimed at enhancing ease of doing business through the provision of infrastructures like roads, rail, and cargo airport as well as regulating mining operations to pave the way for new investors.
Oyetola further assured that in or out of office, every contractual agreement entered into with investors will be honoured to the letter, a reason he travels with the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Samuel Afolabi, to avoid any ambiguity during negotiations.
He said: “There are a lot of investment opportunities in Osun that the rest of the world does not know about and we want to showcase these to prospective investors during the Economic Summit. We have massive landmass for agriculture, many mineral resources in large deposits and tourist attractions.
“Indeed, Osun is hosting the UNESCO World Heritage Centre like the Sacred Grove and many other tourists’ sites that are open for investment and we will drive them through PPP.
“Besides, the state is adjudged as one of the most peaceful in the country; and security is top-notch, and we have acquired 20 new patrol vehicles in collaboration with the South-west states. We also constructed helipads for the full surveillance of the state.
“Like I said, for ease of doing business, we sign off on C-of-Os within 90 days of application to remove the hiccups and challenges businesses go through to acquire land from communities. As part of the incentive for agriculture, we have a land bank, so there is no need talking with the communities.”
In the area of mining, Oyetola noted that apart from Osun is one of the two states being used by the Federal Government pilot programme for solid minerals development; it has also begun the regulation of mining activities to sanitise the sector.
He however assured that the regulation is not meant to run the artisanal miners out of business in preparation for the new investors, but to bring them into the fold, by training and equipping them with current skills to enhance their operations.
Expatiating further, the State Deputy Chief of Staff, Abdullah Binuyo, revealed that government is mapping all the existing mine titles with a view to the proper enumeration of holders.
“This is a pro-active step to determine who is doing what and where,” he explained, adding that the state is using RIFID asset tracker to monitor activities.
He also disclosed that Osun is planning to designate one of the academies solely for mining for training of miners, adding that the state is one of the few states in Nigeria to acquire its own title from the Federal Government, even as mining is under the Exclusive List.
Binuyo continued: “Even without the Economic Summit, a number of investors have expressed interest in the mining sector. We have one private company that is mining 1.5 million ounces of gold worth $2billion, the biggest in the country.
“We also have mining titles in other states of the Federation including Zamfara, Ebonyi and others. We are currently doing resource evaluation in partnership with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, pending when the private investors will do their own study.”
Against the backdrop, Governor Oyetola concluded that Osun is seeking investors to develop industrial parks, with all the requisite infrastructure as well as in agriculture value chain in the processing of cocoa, cassava, and ethanol.