Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, says Ondo has the largest bitumen deposit in Africa.
Bitumen, which used for road surfacing and roofing, is a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation.
Speaking in Abuja at a dinner he hosted for the diplomatic community on Friday, Akeredolu said his administration had created an enabling environment that would make business thrive.
He said Ondo, the largest producer of cocoa in Nigeria, is responsible for about 40 percent of the country’s production.
“In Ondo state, we cultivate high varieties of arable and fruit crops such as cassava, rice, maize, sugar cane, mangoes and tomatoes. I want to say unequivocally that Ondo state contributes 12 percent of the entire oil production and has one of the largest gas reserves in Nigeria,” he said.
“Let me also inform this gathering that the Bitumen deposit in our state is the largest in Africa with over 42billion reserves and probably of the highest quality.
“Furthermore, the glass sand was the source of raw materials for the Oluwa Glass Industry which is presently moribund. I can assure you that new set of enterprise will be created through technical support which will produce different types of glass wares.”
He appealed to the diplomatic corps to take advantage of the resources in his state.
“We need people that will assist us, we are in recession but we are gradually getting out of it, in the country and I’m sure we will get out of it soon,” he said.
“But at this period there is no way we can do everything ourselves, that is why we have come, you can see that my cap in on my head, not cap in hand. No doubt we need to work together.
“In Ondo state today when it comes to the issue of tax, also availability of land, we want a climate that all of us will see as economically friendly. That is the essence of it. That is why we are here. Those investors you can invite from your countries can assist us to access resources – we will create the enabling environment.
“One key component in economic development for us is the creation of this enabling environment. We are prepared to do that and you can take our words to the bank. We have a lot of things we want to do, we cannot do it at the same time and alone. We want you to give us your shoulders to rest on.”
He added that there were steps to establish a N25 billion employment trust fund that would be managed by “trusted and experienced hands”.
High commissions and embassies that were present at the event include Britain, China, Australia, India, Japan, Korea, Ghana, Ethiopia and South Africa.
Multi-lateral agencies like the World Bank, United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), Africa Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), US Public Health Service (USPHS), African Development Bank (AfDB), were also there.