W’Bank commits $200m to Ekiti, gov eyes new airport

The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji has sought increased collaboration and partnership with both local and international development agencies to ensure all-round development of the state’s economy.

Oyebanji, who made the request on Tuesday during a strategic meeting with Heads of Development Agencies at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, said with the right partnership and collaboration, the state’s development goals could be significantly accelerated through mutual cooperation and resource sharing.

The governor said this shortly after World Bank Country Director, Ndiame Dipo, mentioned that the international bank had committed over $200mn to Ekiti State, out of which $60m had been disbursed so far in some critical aspects of the state’s development.

He also said a new airport would soon be ready in the state.

The World Bank country director, who disclosed this during the governor’s engagement, said the funds were directed at eight different projects. He called for more effective collaboration from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure the success of the projects.

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During the discussion, Oyebanji said that Ekiti State was not looking for help, rather, he said what the state government wanted was partnership and collaboration that would accelerate growth and development.

Oyebanji said that his administration had positioned itself as reform-minded, transparent and accountable to build trust with stakeholders and ensure that development initiatives are effectively implemented.

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 emphasised that the state was open for business and eager to partner with investors who shared the state’s vision of sustainable growth and development.

“We are a government that is reform-minded, transparent, we are accountable and am 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.

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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 programme 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.

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He also revealed that access to the state was being improved with investment in road infrastructure. He also 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.

The governor also added that officials of the NCAA and FAAN were 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.

While commending the state’s good track record of implementation of the bank’s projects, the Director said more project opportunities would soon come to the state in critical sectors such as irrigation, hydropower, agriculture, health and education, among others.

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