By Bode Akinwumi

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN, says, there  will be partnership with credible organisations to broaden the economic base of the Sunshine State. This, the governor hopes to achieve in a bid to move the state from being a Civil Service oriented one to becoming a productive driven economy that will promote economic growth.

Speaking while hosting a development foundation known as Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta ,PIND, in his office in Akure, Governor Akeredolu said the curent earnings of the state were barely enough to pay salaries of its workers not to talk of setting aside anything for development.

“”The money made today is used to pay our large bureaucracy and little or nothing is left for development.

“We need to create an environment where economy will thrive, in leaps and bounds. We are on the path and we will get there,” he said.

Arakunrin Akeredolu who reitrated commitment to the State Investment Readiness Report, in view of the benefit that would accrue to the state, expressed readiness to partner PIND in a bid to develop the state.

“It’s for our own benefit to have people who want to support us, it’s a welcome development. There is no way we won’t need your initiative. You will be of tremendous assistance to us because your area of mandate is needed by us, so we can work together,” he said.

Earlier the Executive Director of the Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, PIND, Dr. Dara Akala, had stated that PIND was established to facilitate economic growth and peace in the Niger Delta region through partnerships.

Dr. Akala who noted that there were overlapping interests between government and the foundation, said it was imperative that the foundation deploys its technical expertise to support the State Government’s efforts at maximizing development outcomes for citizens of the state.

He commended the Governor for his clarity of vision, careful planning and hardwork as well as dedication at taking the state to greater heights.

“From what we have observed in the last few months since you came into office, we have seen that these qualities are the defining features of your administration.

“We have seen the steps you took to lay the foundation for a sustainable and inclusive growth in this state”, he said.

The Executive Director specifically lauded the government for the Diplomatic Dinner held in Abuja in May 2017 to showcase the potentials of the state to the international development agencies and which sought to forge partnerships in diverse sectors of the economy.

“We have looked carefully at the state’s 5-point agenda and clearly the area of job creation through Agriculture, Entrepreneurship and Industrialisation, is a natural entry point for us” he said.

Dr. Akala who noted with satisfaction the desire of the State Government to encourage private sector investment in the state, said PIND was considering  some states including Ondo, from which one would be selected, for the pilot of the State Investment Readiness Report.

He hinted on PIND’s current effort at supporting the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission ,OSOPADEC, to achieve its goals of promoting sustainable economic development within its mandate areas.

“We are committed to working with your government and we do not have any doubts that we would succeed in this mission. It is important for us to know , what defines success and that is why we usually develop and sign Memorandum of Understanding ,MoU, with institution we partner with.

“This MoU will clearly articulate what we plan to achieve together and the resource commitments and so we would like to propose that we draft and sign one with the State Government as soon as possible”, he said.

He, however requested that the Governor designates an official of  government to function as an interface between PIND and the government for easy communication and access to information and data sharing for the success of the partnership.

Dignitaries at the visit include: Head of Service; Mr.Toyin Akinkuotu; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Research and Documentation, Mr Kunle Adebayo; PIND Projects Manager, Mr Sylvester Okoh; Market Development Projects Manager, Mr James Elekwachi; Advocacy Officer, Miss Oteheri Odjeni and the PIND Consultant, Mr Ade Ogunmefun.