Ogun state set to host 2016 Investors’ Forum
The Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun says that “Ogun State has become the new industrial hub of the country” in an interview with CNBC AFRICA’S Nkechi Ogbonna at the unveiling of the theme for the 2016 Ogun State Investors’ Forum.
This is the third edition of the Ogun State Investors’ Forum. After the first two editions in 2014 and 2016, can you compare the influx of investments into the state?
Amosun: We have moved from a paltry one or two billion dollars to 514 billion dollars within the space of about five years and I think the next state to us in the Country is in a distance of about 30 billion. The difference is huge and today, we are the industrial hub of the Country. No states have the kind of industries that we have in terms of number and value and that goes to show that we are working. We have created an enabling environment for entrepreneurs, businesses and for investors to believe in us and Ogun State is the destination of choice, we are not just making it up that we are the fastest growing economy particularly when you look at the industrial phase that we have. This comes with a lot of value added. More people are now living in Ogun State. More people are now consuming their everyday needs in Ogun state because if you live in a place, there’s nowhere else you will go and those that live with us pay their taxes to the state. A lot of things are happening, as new companies are springing up, we have more distributors for their products, which extends into the general market. We are creating wealth, employment and values for our people.
MSMEs are key drivers in any thriving economy, what support system does the Ogun state Government provide for start-ups?
AMOSUN: We collaborated with the Bank of Industry and we were given half a billion and we added another half a billion making one billion which we distributed to just MSMEs, we started with about 500, today we have over 10,000 within the state. Lately, we partnered with the Central Bank which is now giving us a facility that will enable us to relate to our small and medium scale enterprises. We are giving them at a single digit, what was given them before was subsidized but now, we are looking at an avenue which will be able to reduce it to like six percent and they have been paying back and that has tremendously helped us. It has reduced the security issues, unemployment and our young unemployed graduates are now employers of labour.
This year’s theme is centred on transport, agriculture and environment. What is the rationale behind the choice of these three sectors?
AMOSUN: When we came on board we realized that if we are going to get it right as a state, we must be private sector driven and to get the private sector involved in what we are doing, we must provide an enabling environment to let them know the opportunities that abound within Ogun state, what they stand to gain and how both of us can come together in the area of mutual benefits. The first forum was tagged ‘Ogun State open for business’ and between March 2012 and now, we have very good stories to tell. Ninety companies have sprung up and more are calling us to commission and these are companies that have net worths of about 100 to 200 million dollars and even some billion dollars. This year, based on what we are focusing on, we have realised that the environment is very key as it affects life and daily living, particularly now with new innovation, new technology, climate change and even power generation. We have discovered that there are a lot of things that we can do if we are desirous of adhering with world’s best practices. For the transport sector, we need to create a maintenance culture that works, especially for the roads. All these things come with their challenges, some certain roads have their weight limits and you have trailers plying these roads everyday not to mention the emissions and wastes from industries which have negative health impacts on people.
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