By Lateef Ositelu
The ogun state strategic location as a gateway in the South Western Nigeria particularly its proximity to Lagos, the fifth largest economy in Africa and a windowpane to the Republic of Benin, West Africa Sub-region remains a key advantage for industrial development of the state. The tremendous advantage among other potentials were not taken for granted by the present administration as over 60 percent local and foreign direct investment have been magnetized within 365 days of assumption of office.
The determination to ensure industrial development of the state was embedded in the mantra of collectivism driven by public private partnership initiatives. This has in no small measures midwived an enduring socio- economic development and individual prosperity in the state. Some of these genuine investment initiatives have started yielding positive result and they have better repositioned the state as the foremost investors destination of choice.
According to Ogun State Commissioner for Industry Trade and investment, Mrs. Kokelomo Longe who revealed that irrespective of global challenges posed by covid-19 pandemic, Governor Abioduns dogged spirit had proven thousand of critics wrong within 365 days for implementing thriving friendly investment initiatives such as; establishment of investment agencies, implementing reforms on business enabling environment, supporting Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with capacity building programmes and providing access to loan facilities, attracting foreign direct investment as well as improving ease of doing business among others.
Embolden by the determination to make the state a true industrial hub not minding standing challenges led to to sinking of huge resources into the state entrepreneurial development. The first step in this direction was the establishment of the State Enterprise Development Agency (OGSEDA) to better repositions Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) to provide business advisory services, organize capacity building for business owners and develop entrepreneurs. Today thousand of entrepreneurs especially the rural women in retail business across the three senatorial district of the state had benefited immensely from the various state’s business clinic, capacity building and empowerment programmes.
An adage says, there is a reward for everything, no wonder Governor Abioduns relentless efforts at promoting development of solid MSMEs in the state was recognized and conferred with a national Award by the Association of Small Business Owners (ASBON) as the most supportive Governor of the year 2019. This recognition has shocked many critics of the present administration as governor continues to fantasize people with hundreds of noiseless achievements.
On direct foreign investment, the state participated in the United Kingdom (UK) Economic Summit Focus on Africa in January, 2020. Ogun state had showcased avalanche of great human and natural resources that abound in the state to potential investors. The proceeds of the foreign trip among other investment initiatives had begin to attract direct potential investors, in Agro processing, Primary Agriculture, Health, Infrastructure, Power to mention but a few. While the receipt of some foreign ambassadors and consuls who came to the state only consummated the state as investors’ destination of choice in Nigeria.
Ogun state had also improved on the ease of doing business, the record showed that the state ranking on over all using the world Bank index was 12th in 2018 from 36 states of the federation. It was revealed that state had improved greatly particularly in registering property where the state performance has been quite embarrassing. There is also improvement in automation at the land registry and implementation of an enhanced Geographic Information System (GIS) statewide.
It is also interesting to revealed that, the state remain the best in other business enabling environment such as; ease of starting a business, ease of getting permit for approval for construction, ease of registering property and component of enforcement while government received accolade over the directive for issuing Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) to property owners within 28 days.
In apparent move to create more enabling Environment for Private Sectors Development led to the establishment of Business Environment Council in September, 2019 to improve the state ranking in the World Bank sub- national study on doing business. In this wise, government took the step to harmonize taxes to stop duplications and leakages prevalence due to diverse collocation of taxes by different MDAs.
Some experts hinted that the outcome of Governor Abiodun’s bi-annual meeting with 139 Chief Executives Officers (CEOs) from organized sectors had led to the receipt of feedback that had helped reposition the state’s with requisite foundation to achieve its set objectives.
The genuine support for Trade Promotion and growth prompted the approval and registration of 35 new local and small scale miners in the state in accordance with mining rules and regulations. Some of the state activities in trade promotion include; sustaining the state exports capacity, reducing illegal revenue collection and illegal toll points across the state. More so, the state is working on the development of ogun state economic minerals Map so as to attract more solid minerals investors as two additional solid mineral were discovered bringing the total number of solid minerals to 15 in the state
Records had shown that the establishemment of Ogun State lnvestment Promotion and Facilitating Agency OGUN INVEST in December 2019 has attracted lots of investment and coordinated private sector investment activities, thereby easing the investors process of establishing operation in the state among others.
Since assumption of office of present administration, OGUNINVEST had facilitated over 50 percent of investors into the state which include; OCP Africa, a Moroccan based Multinational investing a total of Nine billion Naira (N9Billion) Fertilizer Blending Plant with a production capacity of over 600,000metric tons. It has huge employment opportunities for thousands of young graduates and youths in the state. There is also Terratiga Limited, an investor from Netherland investing in animal feeds with a production capacity of 100 tons per day and 1.2million tones per annum. The company investment value is approx S8milliom US dollar with capacity to create over 100 direct and indirect employment opportunity, there is also a United Kingdom firm owned by a Nigerian in Diaspora establishing an organic farm and a processing unit with an estimated investment worth of 5million us dollar. Among the investors in the state is an Asian investment firm setting up a manufacturing of plant for the production of industrial bolts and Nuts with an estimated investment worth of 15million US dollars among others.
Economic experts say the benefits of this great investment drive cannot be quantified irrespective of the impact of covid-19 pandemic on the global economy. Ogun State will remain the the pace setter for thriving industrail hub in Nigeria
Ositelu works with the Ministry of Information & Strategy, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.