The Oyo State Government, on Tuesday, handed over two hectares of land to the Federal Government for use as International Gemstone Market.The Oyo State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Barrister Temilolu ‘Seun Ashamu, who performed the handing over, said Governor Seyi Makinde remained committed towards the diversification of the state’s economy through the development of the solid mineral resources sector.
He gave the commitment while speaking during the formal handover of the two-hectare Gemstone Market site located at Ojoo area of Ibadan, to the Federal Government.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the commissioner, who was with the Executive Chairman of the Oyo State Solid Mineral Development Agency, Mr. Abiodun Oni, handed the Gemstone Market site to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite.
The commissioner stated that the siting of the market was part of the agreement reached with the Federal Government, explaining that, on completion, it will enhance the development of the solid mineral sector and increase the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of the state.
In his remark, Oni equally explained that the Gemstone Market will boost the IGR of Oyo State and create more employment opportunities for the residents of the state, saying: “This is our own part of equity, because we are part and parcel of this project.”
While speaking, Ashamu said: “If you recall, His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, has always maintained that he wants to diversify the economy of Oyo State and that mineral resources is going to play a significant role in increasing of our IGR and the diversification of the economy.
“So, under the chairmanship of the Solid Mineral Development Agency, as well as the Ministry for Energy and Mineral Resources, we have been able to reach agreement with the Federal Government to partner and set up a gemstone market here in Oyo State.
“And what we are here to do today is to formally handover the land so that development can commence in earnest. The land is about two hectares.”
In his response, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Adegbite, commended the Oyo State governor for delivering on his promise to give the hectares of land for the gemstone market.
He said the initiative was part of the post-COVID-19 palliative for the mines and steel development sector in six regions of the country, adding that the market will promote gemstone trading within the region.
“Your governor has promised us and he has delivered. The governor of Oyo State has been very gracious. He promised to do this and he has delivered this morning. We have the land now and we can begin to do what is necessary. We need to do the architecture planning and construction of the market.
“This is an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is part of the post-COVID-19 palliative that is being done in the mines and steel development sector. It is to develop the activity in the sector within the six regions of the country. For the South-West region, we chose to promote gemstone trading, which is already in Ibadan in an informal market at Ojoo.
“The whole idea is to formalise it as an international market and, of course, enhance the trade that goes on there and the benefits that will accrue to the federal, state, and local governments. We sought the support of the Oyo State Government to make things smooth, that is, to give us land and that is what we are actualising today.”
Adegbite further explained that the market will spur activities for people, enhance commerce and, at the same time, improve the local economy and generate revenue for the government at the national and sub-national levels.
“We have the fund, the rest is human capacity. We will try our best to finish this as soon as possible. The government has done its best by giving us money to do it,” the minister added.
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