By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has inaugurated the State Business Environment Council, with a charge on members to come up with sustainable reforms that would bring about improved and practical approaches towards Ease of Doing Business in the state.
Inaugurating the Council in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Governor Abiodun noted that most investments over the years had been driven by investors themselves to benefit from the State comparative and competitive advantages. This is without concerted and proactive efforts to attract them. The governor went ahead to note that it was imperative to leverage on the advantage by developing structures to improve engagement with potential investors.
“It is important to leverage on the advantage and develop a structure towards improving engagement with potential investors and continually improve the processes to enable investors invest more efficiently with little or no redtape or bottleneck”, he said.
Speaking on the precarious business situation in the country, the Governor quoted the National Bureau of Statistics report which stated that Foreign Investment in Nigeria had in the third quarter of last year, dropped to $5.36bn, compared to $5.82bn in the second quarter, adding that 29 States did not get any investment flow last year.
“We thank God that Ogun State is still among the leading states that attract more foreign investment in the third quarter of 2019. Ogun State came third after Lagos and Abuja. What this simple means is that competition for investment inflow is high, investment inflow is dwingling. Therefore, we most device sustainable strategy to attract investment into our dear State”, advised.
He said government has formulated policies and reforms to engender investment growth, listing some of them to include; establishment of the Public Private Partnership Office and the State Investment, Promotion and Facilitation Agency (OgunInvest).
The reforms according to the Governor, are to ensure that existing investments continue to thrive and new ones are attracted through the provision of infrastructure, elimination of unnecessary constraints and introduction of initiatives that drive efficiency, transparency and accountability.
Prince Abiodun said the Council was being inaugurated and saddled with the responsibility of ensuring significant improvement in the State standing on Ease of Doing Business ranking just as it would make recommendations to improve existing procedures, introducing key reforms by leveraging on global best practices.
Some of the functions of the Council, according to the Governor are starting of Business, acquisition of landed property and transfer of ownership, construction permit, regulation of property, enforcement of contact and payment of taxes and charges, among others.
In his remarks, the Chief Economic Adviser and Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Okubadejo, noted that the ultimate objective of the Council was to ensure that potential investors see the state as the prefered destination of choice, adding that the investment would create wealth and also lead to the economic growth of the state.
Okubadejo added that the Council would help investors remove all forms of bottlenecks that could impede investing in the state, adding that it was the belief of the present administration that no meaningful economic development could take place without private sector participation.
The Coucil has the State Commissioner for Finance who is also the Economic Adviser to the Goverrnor, as its Chairman and the Head of Service as well as the representative of the State House of Assembly as members.
Others are the representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Investment, Education, Science and Technology, Justice, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Physical Planning and Development, Budget and Planning, Bureau of Land and Survey and the Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency.