By Henry Odeh
The Oyo state government through the office of the Executive Chairman, Mineral Resources Development Agency Mr ABIODUN Oni, has called for maximum cooperation and supports aimed at more robust relationship from all quarry owners and operators in the state with a view of increasing the internally generated revenue (IGR) base of Oyo state.
Mr. Oni made this call today while playing host to members of quarry owners in Ibadan adding that the state government can no longer fold its arms and continue to suffer paucity of funds to execute critical projects across the state while being shortchanged by some dishonest consultants.
Recall that the executive chairman in company of top officials from the agency had gone for on the spot assessments tour of most of the quarries across the state to ascertain what is on ground and true situation of things. The meeting today is aimed at further improving on adequate data and information sharing that will enable the agency close all loopholes leading to the state government being shortchanged.
Earlier on, some owners and representatives of various quarry in attendance had expressed their challenges which in their words “has had negative impact on their businesses.”
Some of the key challenges highlighted include illegal haulage collection by unscrupulous elements, shortage of power supply, security threats from herdsmen around quarries and blasting sites, lack of proper regulations, double taxation resulting from haulage payments to both state and local government, and high cost of production among others.
Mr. Kashif Tawwab who represented Platinum Asphalt Company Ltd. stated that even though the company is in Nigeria its investors are based in Delhi, India, and have at some point considered shutting down their business in Nigeria due to the unabated challenges listed earlier which has affected expected returns on their investment negatively adding that Lagos state is the company’s main market and expressed optimism that the present administration under governor Seyi Makinde would provided the needed infrastructures aimed at creating a business friendly environment for investors within the state.
Mr. Oni in his reaction to concerns of the participants said the state government is committed to making Oyo state one of most commercial hub in Nigeria and Africa stressing the need for a strong synergy between the government and quarry owners because it is only when the industry operators help government meets its revenue targets that it would be able to provide the needed social and critical infrastructures in the state.
The executive chairman however noted that government will heavily rely on data and information flow from the quarry owners in its bid to properly sanitize and regulate the industry, he added that quarry owners must as a matter of urgency design a safety template for operations as a proactive measure before the issue of safety in sites becomes an overwhelming issue that will require emergency reactive measures adding that all their challenges will be adequately conveyed to the governor with a view of addressing them.