*By Khodijah Awojoodu, Ibadan.
Ambassador Yemi Forunbi has urged FG to turn LGAs to Industrial Units.
9Janewshub.com.ng reports that the Former Nigeria Ambassador to Philippines, Dr. Yemi Faronbi has lend his voice on what need to be done to expand the current economic situation of the country.
The veteran broadcaster who was a guest speaker at the Unveiling Of the 2nd South West Local Government Agricultural Development and Mineral Resources Trade Fair 2022, theme Ajelawa 2022 maintained that If we really want to grow our economy we have to do what other developed countries have done.
The event that was held on Thursday at the historical premier hotel, Ibadan had in attendance the state commissioners of Agriculture as well as representatives from Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, was co-chaired by Engr. Dotun Sanusi the Managing Director of Ilaji Farms and Resorts and Baale of Ekotedo Chief Taye Ayorinde and other stakeholders.
Dr. Faronbi in his speech decried Nigeria over dependant on crude oil, he said, Nigeria economy can only grow through industrialization at the grassroots level. He noted that Nigeria needs to emulate the developed country like China and Japan who relied on the small medium scale industry to grow their Gross Domestic Product and expand their economy.
He said, ” What I think we really need at a time like this is what I call mass industrialization at the grassroot so that people won’t have to migrate from the rural areas to urban centers in search of job opportunities. We have to find a way of redirecting our industrial grow, many years ago if you went to Acme Road in Ikeja you will find textile factories and others but today all these factories have become Churches, so we have to re-direct the growth and development of our economy to make sure that almost each local government can become industrial unit.
“Its not only in China that have developed at the micro level, also as at last year Japan relied on the small medium scale industry, they embark on small scale industry that will employ 3 to 5 person from 57% of the Gross Domestic Product. America last year relied on these small scale businesses to 54% of its GDP so what we are saying is that all the resources that we have, not only in agriculture there is no local government out of the 117 that is putting in the constitution that is tapping into the mineral resources.”
“As a matter of fact bulk of the gemstones that we import are carried away as laterites from Oyo North, so all we need to do for our economy to grow is to expand, we need to look at these mineral resources we have in each of the local government areas and instead of exporting them as raw materials we should be refine and process them so that we can market them as finished products.
“I’m aware that we have a serious problem that we that produce the crude oil, number 8 to 9 in the world the four refineries we have are not working and we importing so much petroleum that we are still talking about price subsidy and a country like Venezuela produces crude oil like us have 57 refineries, they ensured that non of the crude oil leaves Venezuela without being refined and it’s sad because I know most of the refineries in Venezuela are owned by Nigerians. I know that the one in Burkina Faso is owned by a Nigerian.”
“So we have to reorientate ourselves and this cannot be done by government alone because government have no business in business, what they need to do is providing an enabling environment, the individuals, the entrepreneurs, the people that have the business with business are the ones that can do it, all government needs to do is to provide enabling environment, the good roads will enable us to transport the products from farm to the City, so I think we ought to a good thing and I congratulate the thinker of this trade fair and the partners for coming up with this laudable initiative the local government agricultural trade fair.” Dr. Faronbi said.
In his contributions, Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde said “Our goals as government is to accelerate the development of all the various constituency and all the sectors of the Oyo State economy, we are particularly desire of facilitating and even development across all our local governments.
Makinde who was ably represented by his Executive Assistant on Administrative, Reverend Idowu Ogendengbe stressed that the presence of all the local government chairmen affirmed the state government commitment on agricultural development even at grassroot level.
He said, “that our local government chairmen are all here despite all their busy schedule shows that they recognize the need to participate in development at the grassroots.”
“We believed that we have several mineral resources that are waiting to be fully tapped and explore in virtually in all our local governments and we are committed to ensuring that we construct the necessary assess ways in all the local government, apart from the one that the local governments are constructing, the state government also have commitment to the Rural Access Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAM) which very soon is going to take off at the critical agricultural zones of the state.”
“Very soon most of the roads lead to the inter-land will be taking a new look because our infrastructural development vision is to target the economy expansion of Oyo State. The critical segments and sector that are contributing to our GDP we want to ensure that we facilitate infrastructural development with a view to enhance our GDP for the state and as an agricultural economy, we know that Oyo State is probably three times some south eastern states because we have massive arable land mass and most of our income comes from business and ventures from the agricultural sector.”
“We’ve seen prospect for the development of various businesses across the agricultural value chain. Agricultural sector is one of the area we have desire to expand the economy of the State, and that was why we have been investing in the agricultural sector of the state and apart from building the capacity and human capital that is necessary for development of that sector, we are also re-constituting, restructuring and repositioning Oyo State agricultural project, we have convert it to Oyo State Agricultural Development Agency (OYSADA) and the reasons why we did that is that we want it to be a platform where we can attract critical stakeholders in the agricultural sector who will be involved in aggregation, warehousing, processing, packaging and all the various activities involved in the value chain.”
“We are glad to show that a numbers of companies have been showing interest in coming to Oyo State, as I’m speaking to you the Netherlands embassy invited us to Netherlands so the Director General of OYSADA is currently in Netherlands we are one of the few states to come over for a fact finding your, where experts we look at the various opportunities in Netherlands that could leverage towards developing our agricultural sector in Oyo State.” He said.
Elder Taye Ayorinde, in his remark expressed sadness over the current situation of the country, especially in the South West region.
He said before now we have industries that are known for south west. Western region stand alone to be the best among the rest in terms of economic, education, we have companies that are into cocoa processing and many others but now all of these have gone and this is because of the managers of the resources of this country that are not performing by the fear of God, Nigerians are now eager to leave the country.”
“In the past we have series of companies like plantain flour processing but today politics has run down all the good things that we have and that I why this summit is very crucial and necessary because of the future of our children. What is happening now is very sad, before we used to produce clothes of our own with our various textile and cotton processing factories are working, it is time we have to let our children realize that Nigeria was not like this before, we need to stand firm and make things work again for the sake of them.
“The managers of Nigeria are not helping the country, they are not progressing, they are affecting the development our Country, we can manufacture what we need in our country, enough is enough, we the people of the south west are not going to continue and seat down and look, we are awake, you will see many Investors that will be coming for this trade fair, this will tell the world that we are not sleeping in the south west region of the country, we will continue to do our best to make our country great.” Elder Ayorinde said.