The Ekiti State Government has restated its commitment to partner with individuals and corporate bodies to boost the economy of the State through banana exports and other non-oil products.
The State’s Commissioner for Investment, Trade and Industry, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua,
disclosed this on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti, while declaring open a Stakeholders’ Forum on Banana Development for Export,
Olumilua noted that the various proactive programmes embarked upon by the investor friendly administration, has created an enabling environment for investment to thrive in the State.
He listed some of the administration’s projects to include the establishment of a cargo airport to ease transportation of goods to and from the State, clearing of 5,000 hectares of land for farming. Others include facilitation of the establishment of the NEPC office in the State, to eliminate the stress of going to Akure before exporters can assess the support of the council, various tax incentives, as well as provision of proactive security architecture to guarantee safety of lives and property.
He noted that the One-State-One-Product (OSOP) initiative is an essential part of the “Zero Oil” plan, where all States of the federation are to identify at least one strategic export product and its alternate product, based on their comparative advantage, from which the country can earn foreign exchange.
Olumilua explained that since the State is one of the highest producers of banana and cassava in Nigeria, the partnership with NEPC would go a long way in supporting the agenda of tracking economic, commercial, infrastructural as well as agricultural and industrial revolution in the State.
“With the proactive measures put in place by the State government, Ekiti has no business with poverty anymore. It is a known fact the State is landlocked, and has virtually no prospect in oil production.
“The State, however, from time immemorial, has always been very rich in agriculture, and the intention of government to make poverty history in the State has become more emboldened with the massive opportunities dotting the landscape becoming clearer. The current partnership would, in fact, further develop the economy of the State”, he said.
The Commissioner urged participants to participate actively, in order to achieve the desired result of ensuring the ease of doing business, and boosting the economy of the State.
In his keynote address, the Executive Director/CEO of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, commended the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, for his efforts at developing non-oil export products in the State.
Awolowo, who was represented by the Regional Coordinator of NEPC, Mr. Samuel Oyeyipo, lamented that the almost total reliance on oil, has left the country vulnerable to the price changes of an extremely price volatile commodity.
He disclosed that the vision of NEPC was to make the world a market place for Nigerian non-oil exports and for sustainable inclusive economic growth.
According to him, “the global outlook for banana has been on the rise, and will continue on the upward surge in the years to come. This provides a lot of opportunity for the development of this product in Ekiti State.”
He, however, assured that NEPC would continue to collaborate with the State Government to develop non-oil export to boost its economy.
Dignitaries at the event include the Commissioner for Agriculture and Values Addition, represented by his Director of Administration and Suppy, Mr. Fasusi; The permanent secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industries, Mr. Ayo Adeyanju; The President, Ekiti State Chambers of Commerce, Chief Ayodele and others.