The United States of America has commended the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State over its commitment to revitalise the State’s health sector.
The US government who described Osun as one of the few governments in Nigeria that had recorded an unprecedented success in the implementation of Health Insurance Scheme reiterated its readiness to partner the state in its efforts to rejuvenate its economy.
This is even as Governor Adegboyega Oyetola reeled out the investment opportunities for partnership across critical sectors of the State, which he described as key growth drivers.
Speaking during a courtesy visit on the governor on Monday, the Consul General of the US Consulate in Lagos, Ms. Claire Pierangelo, said the US was committed to strengthening the investment ties between it and Osun.
The US Consul General maintained that the collaboration with the state would go a long way to build a healthy economy for the state and open windows of investment and business opportunities for the US and Osun.
She said: “We are very glad to be here to have the opportunity to talk to you on the activities of the state and to be able to see the areas where we can strengthen cooperation and collaboration.
“In particular, I want to compliment you and your team on the efforts to revitalise the health sector. We are aware that Osun is one of the best states in the implementation of Health Insurance Scheme. We must congratulate the state on this feat particularly for being the mother for a programme around the country.
“We are here to register our intent to partner the state particularly in the areas of agriculture and school feeding programme and other areas that you feel the need for collaboration.
“We are glad to know that Osun is working hard already to bring investors into the state as this will help to fine tune our collaboration and cooperation. We are ready to strengthen the partnership ties in the education, tourism, technical and vocational sectors among others”, Pierangelo added.
Responding, Governor Oyetola commended the United States for its interest in and support for Osun State particularly in the areas of economic growth and development; governance and development; security cooperation among others.
Oyetola who reeled out the successes recorded by his administration in the last one year, said the state is open to investment in all sectors.
“Our partnership with the US has dated several decades ago. US has been very supportive. I commend you for supporting us particularly in the areas of economic growth and development; governance and development; security cooperation among others.
“Osun is happy to key into this very much beneficial partnership for development. We as a government, has been around for one year and two months and I am happy that you too recognised the so much efforts that we have made in the area of health.
“We actually revitalised 332 health centres across the state. What this means is that, every ward has health centre to take care of the health needs of its people.
“We believe that what is important is to look at the basic health of the people particularly the vulnerable and once we take care of that, the issue of secondary and tertiary healthcare centres would have been properly taken care of.
“Our focus has always been to ensure that the people at the grassroots have access to healthcare, and that is why we have actually put in so much efforts to ensure that is done. Our state is particularly very peaceful, we are very conscious of the need for security of lives and property of the people that is why we put in so many efforts that we are securing the environment. Our state is adjudged to be one of the best in term of security in the country today.”
The governor noted that the administration has sustained some social investment programmes inherited from the immediate past government such as the O’MEAL “where we feed pupils from primary one to four just as the state equally gives support for the elderly and vulnerable.”
“We have other social investment programmes for the people living with disabilities and youths. These are some of the areas that we have actually done very well in the last one year.
“We have State Development Plan which is the basis of all we are doing. This is a clearly defined plan to which we build our policies and programmes. We are agrarian state and we believe that trying to enhance the capacity of our people to feed themselves, there is need to strengthen the agricultural sector.
“We are working to supply our people required land for farming and investment. That is why we ensure that we have a land bank where people particularly the investors will have access to land.
“We are equally looking at support for education. We are looking at the need to focus more on technical and vocational education because we believe that is the only way to go now as the conventional education does not give room for skill acquisition and since government can not hire most of the graduates, then, those with technical and vocational skills can be able to stand on their own.
“We did so much in ensuring we bring to bear the opportunities in the area of mining. Our state is blessed with many mineral resources and we are looking at partnership within and outside Nigeria to collaborate with investors to be able to maximize this opportunity to develop the state.
“Tourism is another area that we want partnership. We have several tourist sites. We are looking at a Public-Private Partnership with any investor that could add value to some of the facilities that we have to develop to a world standard.
“We organised an Economic and Investment Summit where we invited potential investors to our state and it was perhaps one of the best ever in the country and we have seen the positive effect of that on the economy of the state as we have been receiving proposals from some of the investors that want to partner and do business with us.
“We are ready to partner with you. We have a very good business environment and we believe in the rule of law and we don’t renege on contract and agreement once signed. We keep to terms and conditions of business. We are supporting artisanal miners to ensure that our youths are engaged in mining.
“Our state is one of the vocal states that are being used as pilot for Presidential Artisanal Mining Initiative of the Federal Government. We have asked our youths to go into cooperative to actualise this, but we are looking for commercial mining to realise a very good return. Our gold has been adjudged as one of the best in Africa”, Oyetola added.
Other members of the US Consulate on delegation are: US Consulate Vice Consul, Ross Conroy; US Consulate Political Specialist, Arnold Abulime; US Consulate Agriculture Counsellor, Gerald Smith; US Consulate Agriculture Specialist, Inches Nzeka and USTDA Representative, Josh Egba