The Ekiti State Government’s drive to attract investment to the State has started to yield results, especially in agriculture, where various investors have finalized plans to site their production facilities in the State.
The State recently issued a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to Stallion Group for a $10 million rice mill in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, while Dangote Group is also finalizing plans to locate a $5 million mill within the same location, which is now being seen as the rice processing hub of the State.
In the cassava value chain, FMS Farms is finalizing plans to set up a $10 million starch processing plant and farm in Ikole LGA, and has already commenced farming activities. In addition, Promise Point has also invested $15 million in its starch processing facility, within the same area, which has also been designated as part of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone.
This is coming after the $5 million investment by Promasidor to renovate and operate the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm, and another $5 million investment by JMK Foods to build a rice mill in Ekiti State.
According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Trade and Innovations, Mr. Akintunde Oyebode, the investments attracted to Ekiti are early results of the Government’s focus on building an enabling environment for business to thrive.
Oyebode said many of these investors only have to deal with the Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (EKDIPA) to process their land titles and other requests. “By being responsive to their needs, and carrying out constant aftercare services even when they’re fully established, we are showing other investors that Ekiti is the place to be.”
He stated that the State is developing two special economic zones for Agro-Industrial activities and the knowledge economy, adding “apart from those investors who have already chosen Ekiti as a location to do business, we are seeing a lot of interest in the state.”
Oyebode said: “The recent reduction in Right of Way charges for telecommunication infrastructure was done to complement the planned Knowledge Zone; and to demonstrate a commitment to the digital economy.
“The Knowledge Zone will be anchored around talent produced by universities in Ekiti and its neighbouring states; a well planned mini city with residential housing and offices; and reliable infrastructure, especially power and broadband.
“The zone, when completed will be Nigeria’s first service based economic zone, attracting services like business process outsourcing, back office operations, data labelling, software development/engineering and startups focused on critical sectors like healthcare, education, agriculture and consumer markets.
“The Agro Industrial Processing Zone will include access roads to farms, irrigation systems to ensure all season farming, storage infrastructure to reduce post harvest losses, and independent power to enable processors optimise their output.
“Even in the early stages of the zone’s establishment, the State Government is in serious discussions with at least five large-scale processors keen to operate within the Zone.
“To ensure the gains of the current administration are institutionalized, the State’s Public-Private Partnership Law has been updated and is being reviewed by the House of Assembly, while a Mortgage and Foreclosure Bill have also been sent to the state House of Assembly for consideration.
“When both bills are passed into law, Ekiti will have best in class laws to protect private investments, and the legal framework to support the long overdue mortgage activity in the State.
“The Government is also embarking on a comprehensive Ease of Doing Business reform programme that seeks to ensure Ekiti is a top-5 state to do business by 2021.” Oyebode added.