ABEOKUTA – Ogun State government has disclosed that it has laid out some plans that will help the state mitigate the anticipated economic challenges likely to pose on the state by the current coronavirus pandemic.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen.
He said, “having anticipated the enormity of the economic challenges the prevailing circumstances portend, our government is confident that these measures will sufficiently address them”.
Abiodun added that “the government has prioritised capital spending on critical sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, and other projects that will enhance the living standards of the citizenry”.
“Indeed, there is no compromise on our commitment to deliver on our electoral promises as encapsulated in the Building Our Future Together Agenda, regardless of the prevailing economic circumstances.
“As a result of the recent global economic challenges resulting from COVID-19 pandemic and the crash in the prices of crude oil, we are taking the following measures
to mitigate the imminent reduction in monthly FAAC allocations from the Federation Account”.
“These include the budget review in line with current realities, restructuring, and refinancing of existing loan obligations and processing of new credit facilities to improve the state’s cash flow and take advantage of the more favourable interest rate regime in the country”.
“Our government has also banned nonessential travels by all civil servants and political appointees. We are creatively shoring up IGR, eliminating leakages and
aggressive cost reduction, especially recurrent cost”.
“Also, we are enhancing accountability and transparency and strengthening the government delivery unit to ensure efficient and effective delivery of projects and policies”.
Speaking on the agitation from some quarters on the need to diversify the nation’s economy to meet the financial need of the state, Abiodun said ” we have never depended on oil money in Ogun”.
“We are industrial, entrepreneurial, and agrarian people. We have always believed that it is agriculture that will bail us out because it is not in every part of the world that you have crude oil. If we look into the records of what is going on, a good number of countries in the world are thriving in agriculture. Agriculture is everything”.
“We are taking a multi-sectoral approach to agricultural development. Luckily for us in Ogun, we are inheritors of a great legacy in agriculture. We never really depended on oil revenue from Abuja as a state. We have nine farm settlements established by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, spread across the state”.
The governor emphasised that “We have started opening up those farm settlements to make them available for young people who are showing interest in agriculture and residents who need assistance in opening land so that they can be part of the industrial linkage in growing crop and for food security”.
“We also have, in the roadmap for agriculture, to work with the private sector in bringing infrastructure back to the farm settlements. We are emplacing agriculture infrastructure, processors there. We are taking this opportunity to launch ourselves back”.
“Before COVID-19, we have been having partnership proposals from Europe and everywhere across the world, for us to be able to grow vegetables to satisfy our nutritional demand in every part of the world”.
“We can actually go into massive production of tree crops, vegetables, and spices. We can grow vegetables all year around. There are some parts of the world that they only have two or three months to grow crops and they eat throughout the year. So, the dynamics favour us”.
“We only need to build the capacity and support the private sector and improve on the business environment, in adherence to national and international quality specifications and standard”.