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Ogun State Government Hosts “Investors’ Forum 2018”

…As Vice President calls for sub-regional Economic Summit

It was indeed two-eventful days for government functionaries, stakeholders and captains of industries who came together in the spirit of goodwill to grace the annual Investors Forum hosted by the Ogun State Government.

The event was organised by the Ogun State Government to tackle economic challenges confronting the State and to chart a course for development. The event was graced by high-profiled dignitaries among whom were: the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, the MD/CEO of FCMB, Mr. Ladi Balogun, Chairman of Honeywell, Chief Oba Otudeko, including royal fathers and other notable dignitaries who gathered to witness the ongoing progress mission in Ogun State held in Abeokuta tagged: “Ogun Investors’ Forum. 2018 Edition.”

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, while delivering his speech said his administration is poised to bequeathing a lasting legacy and provide a model of development that is impacting and sustainable for the State. Amosun who highlighted his achievements in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure, security and investment said this is the time to support his administration the more, now that he is winding up.

One of the speakers at the ceremony, a former President of Mexico, Falipe Calderon, who delivered his keynote address said, “Government of Nigeria needs to uphold the rule of law and accountability”. He further stated, “A nation could only be built on the rule of law and not on national resources as the case of Nigeria”, adding that, research had shown that the economy of a country with the rule of law can grow for as much as 34% regardless of its geographical location, culture, leadership ability or even natural resources”.

The Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo while making his remarks assured that Nigeria is on the right track towards economic recovery, Osinbajo who lauded the initiative of the Ogun State government called for a sub regional economic summit among Ogun, Lagos and Benin Republic towards exploring the potential of the proximity of both Lagos and Benin Republic to the State.

He said, “the main problem of Nigeria was not its unhealthy dependence on single commodity but corruption which has seen the proceeds of the commodity being hijacked by very few people. Adding that, “We have launched and implemented a comprehensive economy recovery and growth plan, we pursued peace in the Niger Delta, we focused on improving our business environment, we scaled up our investment in agriculture and infrastructure and aggressively worked at expanding Nigeria revenue base. “Perhaps most importantly, we have reversed the grand corruption in public finance and impunity which attended the conduct of public business especially in the past five years”, he said.

In his expression he further made it known, “In the so called strategic contract with NPDC, the promoters of those companies made away with about $3billion, almost a tenth of our reserves at a point, at the moment, we are in the course of getting the $3 billion to build roads; the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road, the second Niger bridge, the Enugu-Port Harcourt road, the East West road, the Sagamu-Benin-Ore road, the Kano Maiduguri road, the Abuja-Lafia road, the Akwanga-Keffi road plus the Lagos-Abeokuta road.

He stated it categorically, “It is important for us to understand that our country’s problems must be analyzed on the perspective of what our real issues are, we can’t talk about the Nigerian economy without the plight that was caused years ago by people simply stealing the resources of this country. In one single transaction, the sum of 100 billion Naira and $289 million in cash were released three weeks to the 2015 elections. That money was essentially embezzled. When you consider that in 2014 when the price of oil was at an average of $110 a barrel, only 99 billion Naira was spent on power, works and housing; agriculture and transportation got 14 and 15 billion Naira respectively. So the total spent on capital in 2014 on those areas mentioned was just N153 and over N150 billion was released and shared in three days, this is the enormity of what we are talking about. Prof Osinbajo declared frankly, “There’s no country in the world that can survive on grand corruption and that is what we are talking about and that is why it is important for the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse that grand corruption.”

Yaw Nsarkoh, Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria PLC has requested investors to play a complementary role with Nigeria’s government at the State level who are the hosts to investments, saying if investments and investors are going to be prosperous, investors must also develop Nigeria.

The Managing Director, who stated that Ogun State, being the emerging largest industrial hub in the country, plays a very important role in economic growth and development in Nigeria, saying: “If we are going to be prosperous, we must develop with Nigeria as a State. In his deepest conviction, he said, ” We will not succeed if Nigeria does not succeed, Nigeria will succeed if Ogun State does not succeed. And if we implement all our discussions here at the conference like this, Nigeria will be great.”

Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has disclosed that investors are more suitable for national honours than politicians, the Minister in his speech ascertained that a total of $30 million worth of hibiscus flowers was exported to United States of America last year, saying there must be strategic efforts to sustain government’s policy that grows production, processing and packaging of locally produced as against imported produced and products.

He also advised Governor Amosun to lobby his Governor colleagues and work on the cancellation of local government across the country, saying: “Mr Governor, can you please lobby your Governor colleagues to let go local government because they can’t do anything, they can’t even grade rural roads,” He said.
The event turned out a maximum success as all government functionaries, stakeholders and captains of industries pledged their support.

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