By Adekola Afolabi
Ondo state government has said bitumen importation into the country would soon become a thing of the past with the establishment of the State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA) to woo investors to tap its huge deposit in the state.
The Special Adviser to the state Governor on Development and Investment who also doubles as CEO, Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), Mr. Boye Oyewumi, disclosed this in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
The state Governor had last week October 5, officially launched Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA) with a promise to provide necessary assistance and enact enabling laws to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks that may hinder rapid development in every sector of the state.
At the International Culture and Event Centre (The Dome), venue of the event, the Governor said the state would be the next investment hub, calling on genuine investors to seize the opportunity now.
According to him, the state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, was providing an enabling environment which has been making serious investors to partner with the government and ensure that bitumen importation into the country becomes history.
He particularly said one of the cardinal goals of ONDIPA was to end importation of bitumen in Nigeria as soon as possible.
“I don’t think it is the business of any government to run a business. What they are meant to do and which this government is doing is to provide an enabling environment, so we have serious investors partnering with the state to make sure that bitumen importation in the country becomes a thing of the past.
“This government is not in the habit of conducting business on the pages of newspaper, take it from me. The Akeredolu’s government with the support of the federal government, be sure that importation of bitumen will soon be a thing of the past in Nigeria”, he emphasised.
Report has it that Nigerian government spends over N300bn annually on bitumen importation when Ondo state has the largest deposit of bitumen in Africa.
Oyewumi noted that Akeredolu led government was opening opportunities to new investors and also ensuring access of different infrastructural development to investors.
He said presently, investors have access by air to come to the state from Lagos in 35 minutes through Air Peace daily business flight to do their business and go back.
“This is not mere grandstanding anchored on misplaced speculation. This is the reality on ground now. We welcome you with open arms anytime you wish to join us”, Akeredolu added.
He noted that the mandate of the new agency was to tell the business world who we are, how we have fared and what we intend to do to make life worth living for our people.
“This programme marks the readiness of our Administration to showcase our greatly endowed State as the veritable destination to all keen investors.
“The mandate of ONDIPA is made simple by the very circumstances of the environment on whose behalf it sets out to operate.
“We are the descendants of courageous, hospitable and honest forbears. This is why our land is an impregnable fortress to the unscrupulous and a haven for the weak and vulnerable. We are proud, not arrogant.
“The quality of a product lessens the salesman’s oratorical burden. Even a mediocre sales agent will have little difficulty in convincing potential buyers of the integrity of his product. We are particularly lucky in our state. In spite of the plenitude and widespread presence of natural resources, we were reputed to be resourceful and pragmatic.
“We believe in hard work and self respect. Virtue to us is life. We despise those whose activities expose the people to hardship. We prefer death to voluntary servitude. We reject dictation at any level and from any quarter regardless of the perceived importance of the brash and foolhardy.
“Our land is indeed an abiding lesson for those who value the virtue inherent in fierce independence.
“But I must not fail to tell those who may still not know much about our blessed position that partnering us is the wisest business decision which any keen business person, who believes in real investment, can take. I should also flaunt a valuable credential, namely, the insistence of this Administration to Think and Act anew.
According to him “When we talk of investment, we anticipate realistic intervention in order to bridge the infrastructural deficit currently experienced in the State.
“Our land carries under her belly bitumen, the second largest deposit on the planet Earth. It is an embarrassment that our roads are in a deplorable state, he stressed.