The Ondo State Government and operators of wood flitching in the state have agreed to suspend all forms of flitching across the state for two weeks.
Rising from a meeting between the State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN and the operators in Akure the two parties said it was unfortunate for neighbouring states to be reaping the benefits of the abundant natural endowments of the Sunshine State.
Consequently, the operators agreed with the State Governor to put on hold all flitching activities in the free areas of the state forest to enable the State Government harmonise all proposals and suggestions into a policy guidelines that will effectively regulate flitching business in Ondo State.
Governor Akeredolu said the agreement would enable government come up with a policy framework that will proffer solutions to the various suggestions brought up during the meeting to regulate flitching activities in the tate.
“You have made several suggestions and very soon, we will constitute a five man committee to have guidelines on flitching”, the governor said.
Arakunrin Akeredolu enjoined the operators to work with the present administration to improve the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR by legitimizing flitching in Ondo State.
“No one will tell you not to do legitimate business, but you cannot carry out that business illegitimately, we will not allow it.
“We know what is happening everyday. There are areas where this business can be done, it’s not just anywhere.
” I am pleading with you, let us find ways to be more patriotic, let’s work together so that we can all move forward together.
“We want to work with you and put in place ways that the revenue realised will be paid into government cofers instead of the wrong hands,” the governor declared
All operators who spoke at the meeting commended the governor for being the first governor that would meet with them personally.
They described flitching as a very productive venture which can contribute substantially to the local earnings of the state if well harnessed.
One significant contribution was made by Dr. Vincent Omotayo who blamed previous administrations for not acceding to requests to work with fletchers by which government had contributed largely to the problem in the sector.
He said the ban on flitching had led to loss of revenues to the state but more of illegal incomes to personal purse.
“It is when you ban flitching activities that you create rooms for unscrupulous individuals to enrich themselves and that is when the issue of funds going into private pockets arise”, he said.
Dr. Omotayo suggested the creation of a dedicated bank account for revenues payable on flitching by which government would see that the financial capacity of the state would improve considerably.
While reiterating effective collaboration with the operators, Dr. Omotayo however noted that government alone could not monitor its forest reserves alone.