Steps at industrialising Ondo State by the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Administration have taken a leap jump, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, through Public Private Partnership, leading to the establishment of a Sugar Plantation and Refining Plant at Ikaro in Ose Local Government Area of the state.
Speaking at the ceremony in his office in Akure, the Ondo State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, said his administration will always welcome genuine investors who can contribute to the infrastructural and socio-economic development of the state, aimed actualising the industrialisation policy of his administration.
The governor said the company, COCASET Nigeria Limited, which is coming up with the first sugarcane plant in Southwest Nigeria, would provide productive employment to the teeming population of youths in the state.
While thanking the company, Akeredolu, said anyone that offers employment opportunities to any community would never be forgotten.
“The state is proud of you. We look forward to commissioning the plant whenever it is completed. Let us know if your expatriates have any problem so that we can facilitate their visas for work to start on time,” he said.
The governor enjoined the community to give the workers of the company all the necessary cooperation, saying the establishment of the plant would benefit the community and the state in diverse ways.
“I beg of you, don’t hinder them. Give them the necessary space to work because they have done well. It’s now up to us,” the governor said.
Earlier, the Chairman of COCASET Nigeria Limited, Mr Segun Adetoye, had lauded the governor for providing enabling environment for an indigenous company to contribute its quota to the development of the state through a partnership that will soon give the Sunshine State its first sugar factory.
He assured that the project, which will include Sugarcane Plantation, Sugar Processing Mill and Ethanol, would create employment opportunities, enhance community development through Industrialisation and as well, increase the Internally Generated Revenue of the state”.
“We are moving to site immediately, since the the National Sugar Development Council has approved 100 Tons of improved varieties of Sugarcane seedecane for the company in order to multiply for our outgrower farmers.
“Our co-financial partner, Broad Spectrum Industrial Services Limited, Abuja, had already opened talks with Ashoka Machine Tools in India, in order to open 100% confirmed letter of credit for the full payment of machine and equipment expenses and 2 years operational management expenses”, he said.
Mr Adetoye added that the company has also signed a 2-year operational contract with Ashoka machine tools, so as to ensure that the dream of commissioning the project by November 2019 will be realized.
He used the opportunity to appreciate all stakeholders on the project for their immense contributions towards the successful signing and implementations of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Ondo State Secretary, Public Private Partnership , Mr Emmanuel Omomowo, stated that the MoU contains issues on the equity sake, responsibility and obligations of the parties.
He said the company is to provide 100%funding for the project and secure land from land owners,interest on which will be renewable every ten years.
On the part of the state government, Mr Omomowo pointed out that it would carry out the survey of the project site of 1,250 hectares of land and provide security for their expatriates though at the expense of the company.
Commenting on the development, the representative of the National Sugar Development Council, Mr Ladan Balarabe, described the first private Sugar project in the South West as laudable, which would create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths in the state.
According to him, the project would require 2,500 workforce to produce 500tons per day and would as well, increase the IGR of the state as well as transform the community where the project will be established.
“The importance of this partnership is multidimensional and as such, the governor deserves our commendation for setting a milestone for other states to follow”, he said.
Among dignitaries at the ceremony include: the Deputy Governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi; Secretary to the Government, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde; Head of Service, Mr Oluwatoyin Akinkuotu; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale; Daniel Olawale, Company Secretary; Chairman Ikaro Community, Prince Solomon Fagbola.