Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, says foreign investors can assist in pulling Nigeria and his state out of recession by tapping into the dormant natural resources.
He made the remark at the weekend in Abuja during a meeting between his government and representatives of the governments of Britain, Australian, Algeria, some multilateral agencies and donor organizations.
Akeredolu promised to create enabling environment to make foreign investors function optimally in his state.
Highlighting areas foreign investors can prioritized for investment, Akeredolu said, "Ondo State is the largest producer of cocoa in Nigeria, responsible for 40% of all production. Okitipupa Oil Palm Plantation is the largest in Nigeria. In Ondo State, we cultivate high varieties of arable and fruit crops such as cassava, rice, maize, sugarcane, mangoes and tomatoes
"I want to say unequivocally that Ondo State contributes 12% of the entire oil production and has one of the largest gas reserves in Nigeria.
"Let me also inform this gathering that the Bitumen deposit in our state is the largest in Africa with over 42billion reserves and probably of the highest quality.
"Furthermore, the glass sand was the source of raw materials for the Oluwa Glass Industry which is presently moribund. I can assure you that new set of enterprise will be created through technical support which will produce different types of glass wares.
"We need people that will assist us, we are in recession but we are gradually getting out of it, in the country and I'm sure we will get out of it soon.
"But at this period there is no way we can do everything ourselves, that is why we have come, you can see that my cap in on my head, not cap in hand. No doubt we need to work together.
"In Ondo state today when it comes to the issue of tax, also availability of land, we want a climate that all of us will see as economically friendly. That is the essence of it. That is why we are here. Those investors you can invite from your countries can assist us to access resources – we will create the enabling environment.
"One key component in economic development for us is the creation of this enabling environment. We are prepared to do that and you can take our words to the bank. We have a lot of things we want to do, we cannot do it at the same time and alone. We want you to give us your shoulders to rest on.
"I want to hand over the Ondo State Public Service Training Institute at Ilaramokin to private sector to manage. We want to turn it to a profit-making institution where the central government and all state governments, even the corporate organizations will bring their staff to train for efficient service delivery.
"I also want to announce that I am presently setting up machineries in motion to establish N25bn Employment Trust Fund to be managed by trusted and experienced hands. The essence of the trust fund is to stimulate small and medium enterprises (SMES) and drive innovations".