Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has promised at least 80 per cent discount on lands for investors in the agriculture sector, as an incentive to bringing them to the state.
He made this pledge while soliciting the support of United Kingdom-based investors for his administration in its efforts at restoring the glory of the state and enhancing the standard of the people.
The governor gave the promise in a presentation made before the London Chamber of Commerce and Industries, United Kingdom, on the investment potentials of the state in London.
He said that the partnership had become imperative in order for his administration to deliver on its electioneering promises and set the state on the path of growth and development.
Sen. Ajimobi expressed the regret about the level of infrastructural decay in the state, saying that Oyo, which used to be a pace-setting state, had deteriorated and was virtually at the brink of precipice.
He identified the challenges currently facing the state to include poor infrastructure, especially in rural areas, low productivity and value chain addition in agricultural production and processing, high rate of unemployment, ageing farming population and shortage of technical expertise.
The governor also noted that the state was bedevilled by unstable electricity supply, migration of workforce to neighbouring states and mismanaged exploitation of mineral resources which, he said, had been compounded by the control of mineral resources by the Federal Government, thus leaving the state helpless.
He, however, listed the various economic opportunities that abound in the state, but which had been left largely untapped by past administrations to include numerous investment opportunities in agriculture, agro-allied, tourism as well as exploitation and processing of solid minerals.
Others, he said, included opportunities for infrastructural development, availability of large market with over 6.7 million population, proximity to Lagos air and sea ports, higher security of lives, property and peaceful environment, and relatively low cost of living.
Governor Ajimobi expressed his administration’s determination to provide good governance that would be participatory, transparent and accountable, and to make the state physically functional and economically buoyant.
Aside good governance, Gov. Ajimobi also said that his administration’s transformation agenda would involve human capital development, agriculture and rural development, safety and security of lives and property, sustainable environmental management and functional infrastructure.
He added that effective popular participation in public governance would be his government’s watchword, adding while there would be public-private sector partnership for accelerated growth.
To ensure all these, he said that his administration had embarked on some people-oriented programmes such as the provision of free health services at the doorsteps of the people, compulsory extension classes for SSS III students in public schools, as well as youth empowerment scheme, known as YES-O, through which a number of unemployed youths had been engaged.
He said that the state was open to partnership with investors in areas like agriculture, solid minerals, transportation, culture, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing and small and medium scale enterprises, power, establishment of cargo airport as well construction and rehabilitation of major roads across the state.
The governor also urged the investors to come to the aid of the state in other critical sectors including water supply, health, education and environmental sanitation as well as urban and regional planning.
Present at the capacity-filled hall were Mr. Cliff Carpenter, Representative of the British Council for Africa and chairman of the session, the representative of the Nigerian Ambassador to the UK, Mr. Biodun Shobanjo of Troika and representatives of the business community in the UK.