The Peoples Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate in Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) has promised to initiate economic policies that will make the state less dependent on federal allocation even as he wants to ensure the recently approved Ilaje Free Trade Zone is made a springboard for the economic development of the state.
Insisting that the Ilaje Free Trade Zone is a priority for him, Jegede while speaking with newsmen in Akure on Friday on his plan to improve on the state’s economy, said the potential in the southern area which include the Olokola Free Trade Zone, Omotosho power plant, the bitumen and the deep sea port will be utilised by his government.
According to him, creating industry has been an issue that has been on for some time, adding that the problem is not in establishing industries, but in its sustenance.
“ The big issue is in sustaining them and making them to run. To build an industry is a very simple thing; it is easier than to build a school. Just build a warehouse, import machines, and then get people who are technical to start operating it but you need power, you need the raw materials, you need to sell at a competitive price before you can sustain the industry,” he explained.
He said Ondo as a civil service state will disconnect financially from the centre .
“ It will take some time but it can be done and the industrial base will also be created in the southern belt, especially with the Omotosho power plant that will ensure power supply to the area.
“ We have been talking about free trade zone, we now have Ilaje industrial zone.
“There was a licence that was given to the government in May 2013. So we must concentrate heavily on where we think the industrial base of the state should be and it is in the southern belt; it is because they have the longest coast line. Go to Ilaje, you will see their sands; if you stay up and there is sun, it will be shining like gold. You take it and use it for glass and as soon as you take a dip and leave it, few hours later, it will come back. “The place will fill again with the types substance. Those are the kind of economic strengths that we want to leverage on and it’s in the south and at Ore axis, 250,000 vehicles pass through that axis in a week at a minimum and you cannot go to the north without passing through Ondo State; it is not possible. You cannot go to the east without passing through Ondo State; it is not possible. You must pass through Ore and go to Benin. You either go through Awka and go to the north or you go through Benin and go to the east.
“In all these instances, you pass through Ore. So, we must learn to build a political economic advantage from that zone. Even if it is only small eating areas you are going to build, if you are going to find a way, legally you can regulate it and bring in more money and get employment for our people. Those are the kind of things I am thinking about. It is not so much about the old things. There must be new ways to solve these problems,” he canvassed.