Posted by on 2/6/2003 10:39:01 AM

Economic Climate: The economic climate of Ondo State has been boosted by the inauguration of the boards of seven OASIS Companies in the state on 10th June 1989. These companies were established to serve as agricultural processing units that will attract prospective investors to use processed products for their industrial ventures.

The intention of the government was to enhance agroindustrial development in the state based on the available major food crops and kaolin at Ishan thereby laying a solid foundation for rural develop ment. To further attract investors, the state govern ment has established industrial estates in Akure, the state capital. Another attraction to investors is the location of a branch of the Nigerian Industrial and Development Bank (NIDB) in Akure.

There is also a Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in the state. There is no doubt therefore, that the industrial potentialities in Ondo State are limitless considering the myriad of its agricultural, forest, mineral and water resources that call for development. The first index of a bright future for the state is the availability, in large quantities, of tar sand (bitu men). The exploration of this mineral is at an advanced stage.

The next stage is the exploitation. With all the necessary structures already set up, the exploitation will soon start. Going by the nature of petrochemicals, this mineral will bring about estab lishment of allied industries and manufacturing plants. The latter will attract both local and foreign investors.

Besides, many other services will be attracted to the area of operation. In short, the mul tiplier effect of this mineral in the realms of human, education, healthcare, financial, actuarial and environmental services etc. will be of immense development for the state.

Indeed, through this mineral, the Ondo State aovernment's revenue will increase astronomically bearing in mind the thirteen per cent derivation for mineral producing states. The money realised will be available for developmental purposes. A new product calling for good management is stock fish recently discovered in Odelrele area.

Availability of Manpower: The Federal Government, with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the President, has launched the

Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme for the country, as contained in the People's Democratic Party's mani festo, to provide compulsory and free up to the Junior Secondary School throughout the country. In retrospect, the Ondo State government controlled by the Alliance for Democracy, also had free edu cation programme in its manifesto.

The implication of this is that the state government should have more money, not only on its education programme, but also for other areas of development in the state. In this respect, the tertiary institutions should attract the needed financial assistance to make them what they should be. Also, the state govern ment's announcement that it would have its own state university functioning soon is very timely. A state College of Education is also desirable.

Priority Investment Areas: Areas of great potentialities in Ondo State, include agriculture, forestry and tourism. Indeed, forestry offers a lot of investment opportunities in the state. Exotic species such as teak {Tectona grandis) and pulp wood {Gmelina arborea) are now cultivated in many places.

Other forestry products like twines, canes are common along rivers and are being used for weaving hats, bags and rope making. Since the state government has the intention to focus attention on rural integration and development, it is envisaged that more roads will be constructed and many rehabilitated.

It is also hoped that infrastructure such as potable water, electricity and other social amenities will be provided in rural areas under this programme. Furthermore, it is expected that agrobased industries will spring up in the rural areas of the state which will take advan tage of the large plantations of tree crops and large scale arable farms in the wooded savannah areas of the northern part of the state, especially in Akoko area.

Forestry should also attract the attention of the government. If the government could invest on this, it will yield a big dividend so that before long, the state will be able to provide timber for its countless sawmills and still be in a position to export same. Many investment opportunities on tourism and recreation exist, particularly, the coastal sceneries as well as the presence of numerous lagoons and the forest reserves. For example, the forest reserves could be developed as Games Reserves while a relaxation centre could be built for weekend retreats and leisure along the creeks.


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