The Ogun State Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo has revealed that the ambition of the Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration is to make the State the fastest growing economy in Nigeria, as it is prepared to leverage on non-oil resources.
Okubadejo, who made the submission while addressing members of the Fiscal Efficiency and Budget Committee (FEBC) on Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in Abeokuta, noted that the comparative advantage Ogun has over other States is the reason for seeking the intervention of the Commission with the application of N83.5 billion loan requested from the 1.68 percent Development of Natural Resources Fund (DNRF).
The Commissioner said the move would allow the State to make adequate investment that is required in areas like agriculture, tourism and other sectors, as well as value-chain opportunities for wealth creation.
He noted that the State is blessed with mineral resources including, limestone, bitumen and granite which could be explored by investors to create more employment opportunities and eradicate poverty, saying part of the fund, if approved, would be used to address the problem of environmental degradation arising from the mining sites to ensure the safety of the residents.
Okubadejo maintained that the State has the highest number of forest reserves made up of cocoa, rubber, kolanut and palm oil, adding that it is the largest producer of cassava, eggs and poultry meat in the country, as well as the third largest producer of cotton and rice in the Southwestern region of Nigeria.
“The key economic goal of the current administration is to significantly grow the real sectors, create jobs, leverage on the comparative advantage of being the food basket of the nation, with 74 percent arable land in the State, achieve food security, eradicate poverty and increase investment”, he said.
Reacting, Leader of the team, Alhaji Adamu Dibal noted that the fund is aimed at achieving resource diversification and to move the country away from reliance on oil revenue, saying, “when requests such as this are made, the State is required to make their presentation through the Fiscal Efficiency and Budget Committee, who will thereafter make a fiscal visit to the State, as applicable to clarify and confirm issues raised during the presentation”.
He explained that the fund was one of the items under the Special Funds established by the Revenue Allocation Act of 2004, to help all tiers of government in diversifying their economy base, which in turn create alternative sources of revenue and reduce reliance on oil.
Dibal, after visiting the Agro Cargo Airport, Eriwe Farm settlement and other sites, expressed delight with the potentials the State is blessed with, saying the government would continue to enjoy the support of the Commission.