Ondo state is the most business-friendly in the southwest region, according to a recent survey conducted by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in collaboration with National Economic Council (NEC).
Ondo scored an overall average score of 6.16 points in infrastructure and security; transparency and accessibility to information; regulatory environment; as well as skill and labour. The score placed the state above other southwest peers such as Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Oyo, in the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) Subnational Baseline Survey.
The study was carried out across Nigeria to ascertain the current attractiveness of business climates for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the thirty-six states and the federal capital territory Abuja.
The performance of Ondo state in the recent survey reflects the commitment of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN to delivering good governance by a way of promoting accountability and transparency in the utilization of public funds and human resources, implementing life impacting infrastructural projects, amidst national economic downturn.
“Each state was rated on a ten-point scale across the indicators, which provided the basis for calculating the overall performance of the state,” the report states. “The empirical field survey was conducted by KPMG Professional Services between November 2020 and January 2021.”
Since the inception of the administration of Governor Akeredolu in 2017, he has initiated numerous strategies aimed at improving the state and quality of lives of residents.
Notable among this is the partnership with education stakeholders to ramp up infrastructural development in tertiary, secondary and primary schools in the state.
The move has led to the renovation and construction of school buildings with well-equipped laboratories and libraries worth billions of naira across the state.
In the area of road construction, the administration has succeeded in decongesting and easing means of transportation in the state through massive construction of roads within various communities and town with first of its kind construction of Ore Redemption Bridge in Ore.
Under security, the state has enjoyed maximum level of peace to compare to other states in the federation due to the introduction of “AMOTEKUN” and other security outfits.
In environmental regulation, the state funded environmental research on chemical composition bioactivity and formulation of extract from some, local plants species for pest and disease control, also to ensure a clean and friendly environment, public toilets were constructed at strategic location across the state.
There is also resolution of lingering crisis between oil companies and host communities to enhance peaceful coexistence and development in the riverine area of the state. Most of the rivers that pose as a danger, were properly channeled to appropriate areas. The state also has maintained clean environment in the major cities through evacuation of illegal dumpsite by Ondo State Waste Management Authority.
Transparency and accessibility of information, which is a key indicator on the survey, has been Governor Akeredolu’s watchword as a visionary leader. In 2018, the Governor was conferred an award by the State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalist for making transparent and easy access to information a reality in the state.
He has also provided tangible resources for journalists in the state for training and infrastructural development, including the upgrade of media facilities and the work on the environment of Ondo State Radiovision Corporation.
As a result of the Governor’s transparency in leadership, all the ministries in the state now operate on transparency. For instance, revenue reporting is now properly accounted for. In Ondo state for the first time, the Office of the Accountant General and that of Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue (ODIRS) reported the same IGR figure for the year 2018 and 2019 respectively. Also, revenue generated by the tertiary institutions are now properly accounted for and reported appropriately.
Under skills and workforce, the present administration has been committed to training and improving the state’s workforce through the Ondo State Information Technology Agency (SITA). Youths and entrepreneurs were trained in the field of Automobile, Electronics, Building and Fashion designing at Premier Tech Hub. Governor Akeredolu improved the welfare of the players of Ondo State Football Agency, by procuring a brand new 33-seater Luxurious Bus for Sunshine Stars FC. Youths were also empowered in various Agricultural scheme.
In addition to this, market women who are veritable agents of development were empowered through Special Market Women improvement loan of the Ondo State Micro-Credit Agency, APALARA Scheme. Workers in Ondo state have long known what it feels like to be owed salaries, as the Governor has not defaulted in payment of monthly salaries in his own tenure. Deserving workers are promoted as and when due.
It is worthy to note that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, has remarkable achievements in other areas of development. For instance, in industrialization, the state can boost of industrial hub that houses 15 different companies. The state also partnered with big Dutch company to build a pig village. Other industrial activities such as Bitumen Exploration, Port of Ondo (Deep Sea), Jinyingmen Cassava to Ethanol, Sunshine Egg Processing plant, Lekki Araromi, Araromi Rubber Estate and Cocaset Sugarcane to Ethanol Plant etc. Are undergoing development that will take off in no distant time.