By ISAAC OLUSESI
_“…To reposition the economy of our great state… Employment opportunities will be created through industrialization and expansion of agricultural activities through appropriate incentives….”-Governor Gboyega Oyetola, “A HOPE RENEWED” Wednesday, November 28, Osogbo City Stadium_
Industrialization dive in the State of Osun is neither about turning on scientists, engineers, technicians nor about importing technical know-how, the bait for perpetual dependency on external sources that comes with financial quagmire and other failing measurable manifestations of expatriate technology and personnel.
Rather, Governor Gboyega Oyetola recognizes that the people of Osun are wont to have industrialization value-added, generate productive employment of youths and create desirable impact of industrial development on Osun, inextricably to make Osun earn profit tax, royalties and revenues from industrialization to grow the state Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and meet other set quantitative targets of the government that include specifically, touching positively the life of the greatest number of Osun people.
Make no mistake about it! There’s no dilemma here. The All Progressives Congress (APC)-Oyetola government is not confronted with indecision on pursuing industrialization and expecting wealth creation to follow or consciously embarking on industrialization and wealth generation objective simultaneously. Oyetola, populist, socialist but humble, is clearly consumed by his humane concern for impacting head-on the November 28, 2018 authority change, dispensing with alacrity and rapidity, a range of democracy deliverables, people-centered, and for all practical purposes, de-linking Osun from misery, the target of his development agenda for the state and the reason for the last Thursday flag-off of the Osun Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory at Ayakale, Iragbiji, headquarters of Boripe local government area of the state that holds out a lot of prospects with tremendous opportunities. It is projected that the plant will generate 10,000 jobs.
“When completed, the Osun Ethanol Bio-Refinery Factory will be operating on over 21hectares of land conceded to it as equity; and on full operation, it is estimated that it will attract about U$D70m to the state and generate 10,000 jobs,” the Governor enthused. Fantastic! Why? And how?
The why? The prevailing unemployment level in the state occasioned by governments’ inability, time past, to cause investments in the Osun economy despite its enormous potentials, with poverty- unemployment-social exclusion as the resultant effect of investment gap were unacceptable vox pop.
Today, however, the task, faced by the government is to cause industrialization by attracting investments. The Osun helmsman, a certified insurance broker and dynamic business mogul, knows that Osun is richly endowed with natural resources and enormous market potentials. And correspondingly, he knows, investment is the engine of growth of any economy globally; he has thus assiduously created enabling environment of improved peace, improved road, improved health, improved security infrastructure, with the ultimate objective of encouraging public-private partnership as incentive basis for industrialization in the state, underscoring the strategic importance of Oyetola’s premiering, pioneering industrialization, with the Osun Ethanol Bio-Refinery.
The plant, not unnecessary and wasteful a luxury, will get state executive leverage for effective performance or enhanced operational efficiency, albeit the factory to operate with some measures of autonomy, geared towards meeting the wealth creation for Osun people, with implication for need of labour employment and high productivity, optimum use of the state natural resources, accessible market windows for industrial products, all of which constitute the state industrialization strategy contents that made the merit and viability project evaluation indexes of the plant feasibility study.
The state’s outlined industrialization strategy contents, not trivial or misplaced, are ones that meet the aspiration of Osun masses, the critical needs of Osun people and the specified social objectives of the governed, an outgrowth of the Osun people-government interface, civic engagement, up ticked at the 2019 Economic Summit in the task of economic development of the state, with the industrialization policy instrument consequently arrived at for the realization of the governed-government planned document of industrialization strategy contents.
And the 10,000 jobs projection! How? The Bio-Refinery objective of employment generation is axiomatic, self-evident as the factory will not involve any huge automation to require few people for employment. In terms of production activities, raw material needs and supportive intermediate chemical inputs, the agro-based Ethanol firm should be such that require the services of scientists, engineers, technicians, marketers, craftsmen, artisans and other skills employable for competence programmes.
And the promise of job generation also finds expression in the factory’s higher labour intensity, with men and women employable in the farm sector formed into cooperatives of producers of cassava inputs; farm and non-farm sector cooperatives of direct suppliers of cassava; and non-farm, urban sector cooperatives of suppliers of intermediate supportive chemical inputs, bringing about various linkages between the rural and urban sectors of Osun economy.
“The product, ethanol, is one of the safe energies’ sources the world is turning to as a measure of preventing global warming. It would be converting cassava to ethanol, thus empowering thousands of persons in the chain of planting, harvesting, transporting and processing cassava to ethanol and marketing the final product, that is hot in today’s world of pharmaceutical and energy markets,” Oyetola elucidated.
The factory to convert cassava, the state abundant resource most intensively is both attractive and prudent in all contexts. It will lead to socio-economic self-reliance, self-sustenance in the rural and urban sectors of the state, in more ways than one, touching the lives of the majority of Osun people through various linkages and deliberate partnerships capable of wealth creation, generating incomes, and raising purchasing power while narrowing income differential in the state. And the Ayekale Ethanol factory is a mechanism for reducing the rural-urban migration, appropriately potential boost, incentive to agricultural development through forward and backward linkages between agriculture and the state Bio-Refinery firm.
Most economies don’t make positive progress owing to lack of industrialization and excessive dependency, explaining why Oyetola is all out, full steam on industrialization drive, not allowing it to stagnate, become defective or give rise to anomalies. He looks forward to impressive growth of the industrialization option, the growth that implies development as he’s not making any acute demands on investment resources of the state to conflict with the factor proportions of Osun while looking forward to the socialization and integration of the state industrial efforts and proportional allocation of industrial investments on senatorial district basis
I must be frank. The Osun Ethanol plant in the face of government’s constraints of budgetary austerity and the COVID-19 abrasive effects on the state productive economy, must be commended. Indeed, highly commendable!
And more than anything else, the APC-Oyetola government is interested in the continued contribution of Osun to the nation’s GDP, with the Nigerian markets supportive of the Osun Bio-Refinery factory.
_OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy All Progressives Congress (APC) State of Osun__