Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has assured that the mining and exploration of Bitumen in the state would start before the end of the year.
Governor Akeredolu made this known in Akure during a courtesy visit by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright.
He explained that equipment for the exploration and mining were already being shipped while Southwest Bitumen Company would undertake the project.
“We also want any British company to show interest because we have so much,” he said.
Arakunrin Akeredolu added that the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of thehe state would be better when various economic activities picked up.
“We are trying and the IGR has improved a little, but it could still be better. We are trying to make the best of what we have.
This state is a civil servant state. We are just trying to bring in one or two industries to shore up our IGR,” he said.
Earlier, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright had stated that he was in the state to discuss some of the economic opportunities and ways in which the British Government can invest in the state and help boost Ondo State economy.
He pointed out that creating jobs, especially for the youths, would go a long way at developing the state and boost its economy.
“Now that more young Nigerians are fast coming up in the job market and bearing in mind that population and economic growth are divergent, creating jobs and investing in employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths is a priority for me.
“Bringing British expertise and British companies into the state are the ways through which we can help reduce the rate of unemployment in the state and the county at large”, he said.
The High Commissioner categorically stated that the British Government would also assist the state to revive its Cocoa with a view to improving the market value of its chocolate production for economic buoyancy.
On the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, the British Envoy hoped for a free, fair, peaceful and credible electoral process.
Mr Arkwright said he would lead a group of observers from the British High Commission from Abuja and Lagos to monitor the exercise which would be monitored by other observers.
“We do not support any political party, but we support a credible process”, he said.
At the courtesy visit were; Secretary to Ondo State Government, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde; the Head of Service, Oluwatoyin Akinkuotu, Esq; Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Rt Hon Taofeek Abdusalam; his counterpart for Health,Dr Wahab Adegbenro; Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Prince Solagbade Amodeni and the Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Frederick Akinruntan
Others are: the Political Adviser to the British High Commissioner, Mr Wale Adebajo; Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Professor Bayonile Ademodi and Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye.