Ekiti secures $200m loan from World Bank

Ekiti State has secured over $200m from the World Bank to ensure the all-round development of the state’s economy.

This was revealed by the bank’s Country Director, Dr Ndiame Diop during an official engagement with the Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji on Tuesday.

According to Diop, out of the $200m, $60m has been disbursed so far in some critical aspects of the state’s development.

He explained that the funds are directed at eight different projects, calling for more effective collaboration from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to ensure success of the projects.

While speaking during the strategic meeting with Heads of Development Agencies at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, governor Oyebanji said he seeks increased collaboration and partnership with both local and international development agencies, to ensure all-round development of the state’s economy.

According to him, with the right partnership and collaboration, the state’s development goals could be significantly accelerated through cooperation and resource sharing.

In his opening address, he emphasised that Ekiti State has positioned itself as reform-minded, transparent and accountable to build trust with stakeholders and ensure that development initiatives are effectively implemented.

He said his administration is determined to harness, explore collaborations, gather necessary support, and resources to drive development in the critical areas of the state economy, which include infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and education, among others.

Highlighting numerous reforms by his administration to create a conducive atmosphere for investment, the governor emphasised Ekiti’s top position in the transparency index, and its recognition as the safest state in the country has made it an ideal environment for business operations.

He said his administration is intentional in its efforts towards achieving the state’s 30-year development plan through partnership, and collaboration with national and international development partners.

While calling the development partners to consider Ekiti State as their next investment destination, and take advantage of the numerous opportunities and advantages in the state, Oyebanji said the state is open for business, and eager to partner with investors who share the state’s vision of sustainable growth and development.

He said “We are a government that is reform-minded, transparent, we are accountable and I’m leading a team that is competent and committed to the mandate of this administration.

“Everything we are doing in Ekiti is already planned for. We know the track we are following, we know the step we have taken and we are trying our best within the available resources as a state, but we know that we have the capacity and ability to do more and that is why we have invited you here today to say, please handhold us in areas where your institutions can partner and collaborate with us. Let us work together so that we can deliver good governance to the people of Ekiti State.

“We tick all boxes in transparency, we have a regulatory instrument in the state that ensures that we deliver on projects, and for those of you that have one program or the other in Ekiti, you will know that we adhere strictly to protocols for implementation, and that speaks to our commitment to doing things the right way.” The Governor added.

The governor highlighted efforts by his administration to improve the ease of doing business in the state including, the establishment of a small claims court, streamlining of business permits, enforcement of contracts, aligning tax policy to remove double taxation, as well as enhanced security among others.

“On Ease of Doing Business, we have gone so far. I head and chair the committee on Ease of Doing Business. We have streamlined business permits, and enforcement of contracts. We are at a point of having a one-stop shop physically and virtually that addresses the concerns of investors in the state.”

He also revealed that access to the state is being improved with investment in road infrastructure. He revealed that the Ado Ekiti airport would be ready for commercial operation before the end of the year, adding that the airport is undergoing a certification process by relevant aviation authorities.

According to him, officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are currently in the state for the certification for commercial operation of the airport, adding that commercial flights would become operative at the airport before the end of the year.

The airport project, he said was conceived to aid economic development and growth in the state through access to local and international markets.

Also, the heads and representatives of several other international development agencies including the British High Commission, United States African Development Foundation (USADF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Belgium Embassy, Japan Embassy and UNiDOC among others pelleted to strengthen the commitment to the state, while lauding the governor’s regular engagement.

In his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Budget, Economic Planning and Performance Management , Niyi Adebayo, in his presentation identified the state’s areas of competitive advantage as well as areas where it requires collaboration.

The Director General, Office of Development Partnerships, Biodun Oyeleye, did an overview of the Biodun Oyebanji Administration’s six-pillar development agenda, drawing the attention of ten development agencies to each of the ten agendas.

Also at the event were members of the State Executive Council, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Country Directors and representatives of International Organizations and Countries, among others.