Convinced that Ogun State is a viable investment destination, local and foreign investors are now taking advantage of the huge potential in various sectors of the state’s economy
No doubt, Ogun State is a compelling investment destination in its own right. The state boasts of 16,000-square kilometre of land suitable for agriculture and forestry and a climate ideal for both cash crop and food crops such as cocoa, oil palm, rice, kola nut, cassava, vegetables, cocoyam and cotton. More importantly, Ogun State has vast natural resources, as well as large quantities of mineral deposits, which have made the state an investment destination to many business concerns. In virtually all the local government areas in the three senatorial districts, there are mineral resources in commercial quantity, making them potential investment destinations.
For example, in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government, LG, area of the state, mineral resources such as kaolin tic clay, ball clay and laterite abound in large quantity. The kaolin tic clay is a veritable source of alumina in cement production, ceramic and enamel production, filter in paper industry, as well as in medicine; while ball clay is used to process ceramics; and laterite, which is an additive in cement production, is also used in civil and construction works.
Similarly, Ewekoro and Yewa South LG have massive deposits of limestone, which is a major raw material for the cement industry. Little wonder companies like Dangote Cement, Ibese; Lafarge WAPCO Plc, Ewekoro and Purechem Industries, Sango Ota, have established cement plants in the state. Several multinational companies have made Ogun State their home. For instance, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited has a plant in Sango Ota while Unilever Nigeria Plc operates a plant at Agbara Industrial Estate. Similarly, Nestle Nigeria Plc has a plant in Ota, just as Multi-Trex Integrated Foods has made the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway its operational base.
Many LGs in the state are blessed with soft sand, which is used for construction purpose, while glass sand, useful in the production of bottles, is available in commercial quantity in Ifo and Yewa South LGs. Ijebu-East and Ogun Waterside area both have thick forest with mahogany, oak and other types of wood for industrial needs. The areas are noted for food production and agro-based industries. The Ogun Waterside has an export processing zone and deep seaport infrastructural development. The state has another deep seaport at the Olokola Free Trade Zone, with a land area of about 7,000 hectares, which is a public private partnership venture between Ogun and Ondo states in conjunction with Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Chevron, British Gas and Shell Corporation. The project, according to the owners, “is a giant stride towards industrialisation of the states which will create an environment conducive for industrial development and the expansion of commerce.”
Agriculture, with its range of primary products, is the main economic driver of the state. Apart from being the highest employer of labour, it is a major revenue earner for the state. For that reason, Ibikunle Amosun, governor, Ogun State, has made agriculture a cardinal part of his Five Cardinal Programmes in what was named Agricultural Production and Industralisation. “Agriculture will be more or less a pivot on which all of our programmes will rest on. When we were planning our manifesto, we realised agriculture was the most potent of all that we could use to actually generate the most needed revenue. Ogun has the land, we are gifted,” said Amosun. The administration is therefore focusing on the agricultural sector and has identified the appropriate products to be grown for massive wealth creation. In addition, the governor reiterates that Ogun State has the arable land for farming, and nothing should prevent the administration from leveraging on the various benefits to be derived from investing massively in agriculture.
Just as the government of Ogun State is leveraging on agriculture, it has also identified education as one of the key areas open for investment. The desire of the administration is to restore the state to its past glory as the cornerstone of education in Nigeria. Recounting the state’s enviable record of the past, Governor Amosun has this to say: “Education to us is key. People should not forget that Ogun State happens to be what I will call the premier state in Nigeria, when we talk about education. If you remove Ogun State from Nigeria, a significant part of Nigeria would have been removed in terms of human resources and intellect.” Explaining further, the governor said Ogun State is home of all the known names that totally devoted their lives to education. And more importantly, the state parades the enviable record of producing the first accountant-general, the first medical doctor, the first lawyer, the first woman to drive a car, the first African to win a Nobel prize in Literature, and many more. Amosu, therefore, explained that the desire of his administration is that investors should leverage on these opportunities and potential.
Ogun State also has investment opportunities in construction and rehabilitation of roads. The state hopes to partner with the private sector to build roads in all nook and cranny of the state. Under the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, investors are welcomed to the Vehicle Inspection Unit to supply vehicle and invest in vehicle inspection station infrastructure such as patrol cars, motorcycles, communication gadgets, to mention a few. Investors are also required to upgrade and refurbish the Material Testing Laboratory. The Ogun State government is also willing to partner investors to upgrade the health sector. Those who are involved in the manufacturing of drugs; supply of medical equipment, support services providers and all other sundry stakeholders in the health sector have opportunities to invest in the state.
The state government has also thrown its doors open to investors committed to the provision of adequate and reliable electricity supply. And to make this work, the government has set in motion various initiatives to encourage interested investors to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the power sector.
The state government has a bouquet of incentives for prospective investors. For example, the government has put in place a “One Stop Shop,” which allows prospective investors to have a single point of contact for their dealings with the various ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, of the state. The motive is to checkmate bureaucracy and slow processing of documents. The government has also announced discounts on purchase of land. “For investors in agriculture, the state government is willing to give a discount of 80 per cent on land purchase, while land for manufacturing attracts a discount of 60 per cent. Any investor desirous of acquiring land for commercial purposes such as tank farms, real estate, as well as logistics will also be given a discount of 40 per cent,” Amosun revealed. Indeed, with all these incentives, Ogun State will soon become an investment haven.