By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowopejo
Despite the activities of militants on oil installations across the country, Lagos State Government has offered partnership as well as incentives to private investors willing and ready to establish mini (modular) oil refinery in the state.
The call came as the state government declared its intention to establish at least two private mini-refineries in the state.
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State made the remarks yesterday at a one-day workshop organised by the Office of the Special Adviser on Mineral Resources Development.
Fashola, who spoke through the Director of Finance in the office, Mr Kehinde Olatunji, said the workshop which was on â€œSustainable Mineral Resources Developmentâ€ and the establishment of modular refinery in Lagos State was a way forward in making Lagos a mineral producing and processing state.
Addressing participants at the workshop, the Director who doubles as the Head of the Agency, described the workshop as timely, bearing in mind the effect of the global meltdown which makes every government to diversify its revenue base by looking inward and harnessing the mineral potential endowed in it.
Fashola said Lagos State was blessed with sand based minerals and the office was doing everything possible to list Lagos State as an oil producing state very soon.
He noted that the establishment of modular refineries in the state was long overdue because 70 per cent of refined product in Nigeria market was consumed in the state and owing to the large ready markets, â€œit is, therefore, paradox that no single refinery has been established in the state.
â€œIf this is achieved, the socio-economic dynamics in the state will change for the better, there would be more jobs for the citizens, wider windows of business opportunities, more revenue will be generated by the state government from it,â€ he said.
â€œThe idea of this seminar, therefore, is to invite urgent attention to the need to develop the mineral resources that abound within Lagos State and create the enabling atmosphere to ensure the setting up of at least two private-owned refineries in the state,â€ he said.
In the same vein, Director and Chairman of the workshop, who is also the state Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Femi Hamzat, represented by Mr. Jelili Kayode, stressed that Lagos State is blessed with abundant human and natural resources with potentials for investment that could sustain further industrial development if well explored and harnessed.
He said further that the essence of state involvement in the mineral resources industry is to target private business concerns with incentives to create enabling environment for the private sector to participate, generate employment, engender wealth, boost revenue generation and ensure manpower development in the State.
The One-day workshop which featured lectures by notable lecturers and developers, was the beginning of series of activities lined up to bring stakeholders to exchange ideas on specific areas of challenges of making Lagos StateÂ mineral (Solid, Liquid and Gas) producing State.
The Office of the Special Adviser on Mineral Resources Development believed that the opening up of the sector will broaden the economic base of Lagos, enhance the revenue accruable as well as create employment for the youths in the state.
The workshop highlighted the opportunities and theÂ workability of public-private partnership in the development of solid mineral deposit in the state bearing in mind from investigation and research the type and quantity of mineral deposits found in the sedimentary basins in the State.
It also looked at opportunities for the establishment of compact sized refineries, proffering lasting geological solutions to the recurring critical social and environmental challenges in Lagos State.
The workshop ended with a communiquÃ© calling on government and private investors to fast track actions on the need to harness endowed mineral resources in the State and the need for the state to encourage private investors to establish modular refineries in the State.
The guest lecturer of the seminar professor Alfred Susu from Lagos State University (LASU) said that