• Vows to produce over 6,000,000 asphalt yearly
Ondo State Government has expressed its readiness to leverage on the exploration of the bitumen exploration in the state, as clearly indicated in the 2018 budget, so as to stop bitumen importation into the country.
The state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperative, Timilehin Adelegbe, said this on Wednesday in Akure while speaking with The Guardian, affirming that it would make the state the economic hub of the nation.
Adelegbe noted that the available bitumen resources in the state can supply more than the 6,000,000,000 MTs of asphalt imported to country yearly and still have enough for export.
He added that bitumen deposit in the state is the second to the largest in the world, lamenting that the delay in exploration was due to insincerity and lack of political will by past administrations.
According to him, “Since Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s assumption of office in February 2017, he has canvassed vigorously for the project to commence.
“During the Niger Delta Summit held in Akure which had the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in attendance, bitumen exploration was major issue in the address of the governor.
“Similarly, upon President Mohammadu Buhari’s return from London, Governor Akeredolu met Mr. President and raised the importance of the bitumen project to Ondo State and its people at particular time of economic quagmire.
The Commissioner stressed the efforts yielded positive result as the President had committed to the exploration and eventual take-off of the massive project in the South Senatorial District of the state.
He stated that the APC-led government would leverage on the N8.6 trillion 2018 budget and the exchange rate of N305 to $1, which he said, is a real Gross Domestic Growth of 3.5 percent and an inflation rate of 12.4 percent.
Adelegbe iterated that the state government had begun work to maximally utilize the bitumen resources to supply the 6,000,000 MTs of asphalt imported for roads and other construction projects annually; and to also export it globally.
“Governor Akeredolu has always declared that the treasure of the state was hidden in the belly of the sea in the South Senatorial District of state.
It is a top priority of this government to unlock it for the benefit of the people,” he said.