The Ekiti State Government has said the state’s socioeconomic growth is hinged on a diversified economy driven by skilled and healthy workforce.
This plan, the government says, has begun to yield result as evident in the partnership it has forged with development partners and the private sector.
The State Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Aare Olumuyiwa Olumilua, made this known while addressing a press conference to kick start the activities marking first year anniversary of Governor Kayode Fayemi, with the theme: “Walking the talk…Restoring values, Enhancing Impact.”
Part of the activities lined up for the one-year celebration is the foundation laying of the Ekiti Airport, a new Ministry of Justice building and Traditional Rulers chamber among others.
This is in addition to the commissioning of no fewer than 50 projects spread across the 16 local government areas.
Olumilua at the press conference said government was already into partnership with some private investors and development partners that would eventually attract to the state over $100 million to finance Ekiti Knowledge Zone, Special Agriculture Processing Zone, Ado-Akure Road and Ekiti Airport as well as $5 million to revive the moribund Ikun Dairy farm.
These projects, according tom him, will ensure that Ekiti State becomes the hub of the service and knowledge industry in Nigeria, cement the state’s place as a leading agricultural hub, and also improve access and connectivity for business and recreational travellers.
He said: “Other projects include the World Bank funded NEWMAP and RAAMP projects which will improve the water supply to Ekiti people, and open up rural access roads to enable the easy evacuation of our farm produce.
“Ekiti State is about to conclude a joint venture partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited, to revive the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm. The Shareholder Agreement for the new company to be formed to manage the Dairy farm will be signed this month, with Promisador as the core investor, while the State will retain a minority interest, through its investment company, Fountain Holdings. This will attract a new investment of $5 million into Ikun Dairy Farm, which will be used to buy equipment, provide the appropriate herd of cattle, and develop an outgrower scheme for providing feed for the cattle.”
Olumilua affirmed that government would continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare of the people to ensure a skilled and healthy workforce.
He explained that human capital forms the basic requirement to attract investments and other rewards to the state, adding that the State’s development plan is hinged on the need to lay a solid foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
The Commissioner confirmed that government would leverage on the state’s competitive advantages and history by focusing on agriculture and agri-business, knowledge and economy services, tourism and hospitality, and solid minerals, saying it would prioritize development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone and the Special Agriculture Processing Zone that will make Ekiti the destination of choice for investors.
Olumilua said: “Our people still remain our greatest asset, and we will continue to invest heavily in education and healthcare, to ensure that we have a skilled and healthy workforce. Human capital is one of the most important requirements to attract investments, and our goal is to improve both education and healthcare outcomes, by ensuring that our people get the requisite quality contemporary education, which will qualify them to take up the jobs that will be created by new investments in the State.
“Building a diversified and inclusive economy, leveraging our competitive advantages and history by focusing on agriculture and agri-business, knowledge and economy services, tourism and hospitality, and solid minerals while we will not ignore other sectors, these sectors will be the main drivers of growth. Our infrastructure spending will be focused on building the right enablers for the sectors to grow our economy, and be the engine of job creation.”
The Commissioner however berated the immediate past administration in the state over the bastardisation of every facet of Ekiti life, including economy, education, health, sector and many more.
Olumilua said: “The Fayemi-led administration inherited a severely eroded State with our once pristine values as a people, seriously battered. Every facet of life in Ekiti was touched, albeit negatively. Civil servants, Teachers, Local Government workers, indeed all public servants were owed salaries, economic activities had grinded to a halt, and there was hunger in the land, while criminals and criminality held sway in Ekiti. Investors fled, Development Partners vanished, donor agencies disappeared, and the dreaded “Yahoo Yahoo boys” were about the only visible set of people in the society who had a free flow of the much desired cash. Morale was very low. The number of out-of-school children multiplied, as parents who were not paid salaries had problems keeping their children in school.
“Upon the recommencement of the Fayemi-led administration, the job of rebuilding, and refocusing the State, started in earnest. To make the State rise from its ashes like the mythical Phoenix, the job of rebuilding had to start from scratch. Guided by the administration’s 5-point Agenda of Agriculture and Rural Development; Social Investment; Infrastructure and Industrial Development; Knowledge Economy, and Good Governance, Governor Fayemi has successfully put our State back on the firm path to sustainable peace and development, which would survive administration after administration.”
Aare Olumilua appreciated the media for their support in the task of developing the State and making life more meaningful for the people and their excellent coverage and positive exposure of events in the State.
He urged them to sustain and improve the current level of professionalism.