My Dear Good People of The State of Osun,
It gives me great pleasure to address you this first day of Year 2020 to wish you Happy New Year.
I would like to thank the Almighty God for granting us the Grace to witness last year, spend it in peace and in good health and to enter this New Year.
Your support and prayers during our first year in office stabilised us and gave us the confidence to trudge on. Together, we stood to surmount the challenges. Words are inadequate to express my heartfelt to you.
In the last one year of our Administration, we have stridently built enduring foundations for our Developmental Agenda and have made indelible marks in all sectors of our economy. This year, we shall diligently lay the bricks that will take us to our utmost desired heights of economic consolidation.
The agriculture sector in 2020 will witness tremendous improvement as we continue to open up our rural areas, empower our farmers and consolidate on our investment roadmap in the sector.
In education, we are building on the enormous infrastructural gains recorded by our predecessors. Through sustained investment, we will make all our schools conducive for learning. To ensure effective teaching and learning activities, instructional materials will be provided for our schools while provision of grants for the running of schools will also continue. In the same vein, we are focused on Universal Basic Education to achieve Education for All by 2030.
Additionally, the State Government will also continue to fulfill its obligation to deserving students who pass with at least five (5) credits including English and Mathematics in the Senior Secondary School Certificates Examination (SSSCE).
In keeping faith with our vision to stimulate our economy through skills development, our Administration has started the upgrading of the nine (9) Government Technical Colleges and life academies, thereby providing opportunities for our young people to acquire technical and vocational skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment.
To ensure increased accessibility to qualitative health care services in all the parts of the State, we have begun renovation of three hundred and thirty-two (332) Focal Primary Health care Centers across the State, under the auspices of the Saving One Million Lives programme for Results (SOML).
Our administration remains irrevocably committed to raising the standard of Health care at the State specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo and other government-owned secondary health facilities in order to engender improved health care efficiency.
The reduction of out-of-pocket expenses for health is one of the strategies adopted by our government in achieving Universal Health coverage for all the citizens of Osun. Therefore, we have constituted and inaugurated Boards for Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) and Primary Health Development Care Board. We are supporting them to fully deliver on their mandates.
We are resolute in our commitment to improving the quality of our road network and to adequately secure the lives of citizens. To this end, we have continued to fund the dualisation of Gbongan–Akoda Dual Carriage Way, Adebisi Akande Trumpet Interchange Bridge and Osogbo (Old Garage)-Ikirun-Ila-Odo-Erin-Ile-Kwara State Boundary.
Although these are Federal Roads that span a total of 66km, we have given priority attention to them and will not relent until the projects are completed, considering the multiplier effects on the state economy.
I also re-affirmed our commitment to the “Light–up Osun Project”. This is an innovation by our administration to totally wipe out darkness on the major roads of the state capital and in other major towns and cities in the state.
On Certificates of Statutory Right of Occupancy (C-of-O), one hundred and sixty-two (162) applications being processed will be ready early this year for the purpose of issuance of certificates of occupancy to various applicants. Going forward, we shall be fast-tracking the issuance process to further enhance ease of doing business in the State.
Our administration will continue to give priority attention to drinkable water supply to the people at the nooks and crannies of the State. All vital elements of water production costs shall be supported to ensure healthy living of our people.
We are striving hard to free the State from open defecation. By early 2020, Ifedayo, Ayedaade and Odo-Otin Local Governments would have attained Open Defecation Free status while efforts are seriously ongoing by the Water & Environmental Sanitation (WES) Department in collaboration with the office of the First Lady to drive other LGAs to Open Defecation Free, thereby making the whole State of Osun to be Open Defecation Free on or before the target date of 2025.
Our government will continue to give necessary support to all law enforcement agencies with regard to the provision of mobility, communication gadgets, protective gears and the like. Through a collaborative efforts with our sister states in the Southwest, a new security outfit “Amotekun” will soon be launched to make our state in particular and the Southwest region in general, havens of peace.
We will also not relent in our support for small businesses. Therefore, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) will continue to enjoy support under the OSSG-BOI MSME fund in the coming year. Facilities of the fund will be extended to more MSME in the year 2020.
Additionally, our administration will continue to do all things at its disposal to preserve our cultural heritage and use culture and tourism to boost the State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and employment generation. In doing this, a new business model for the rapid transformation of the Arts, Culture and Tourism is already being implemented.
The development of the mining sector is critical to our economic diversification agenda. Therefore, we shall sustain our efforts to stem the level of degradation of the miming sites in the State. We will continue the firm regulation of this sector so as to make our environment safe and encourage local and international investors. So far, we have registered 12, 000 artisanal miners. The Federal Government has also set up the Presidential Artisanal Mining Initiative, with Osun and Kebbi as the two pilot states.
As a purposeful Government which is committed to improving the welfare of its citizen, the youth, the vulnerable, women and children, we recently released a cheque of over Two Billion Naira to provide immediate labour intensive work opportunities for indigent unskilled youths and provide life-sustaining assistance for the aged and persons with disabilities in the State. These programmes, which are aimed at making life bearable and engender inclusiveness, will continue to be given priority in the year 2020.
As I promised in my manifesto, we are committed to entrenching transparency, accountability and efficiency in our financial management process. As part of our strategies towards achieving enhanced IGR, we will ensure real online access to actual position of the State Finances to prevent misuse and any form of abuse by receiving agencies. Efforts will be made to reduce leakages to the tax collection and administration process.
Just as I had promised during my Inauguration Address, the State recently convened a successful Economic and Investment Summit that attracted top-rated investors and policy makers. We are committed to leveraging on the various commitments received during the 3-day event to further diversify our economy.
Only recently, we hosted the American Embassy on a purely business visit. This, no doubt is a clear indication that our Summit is already yielding the desired results and Osun is indeed opening for business.
To further demonstrate our commitment as a worker-friendly Government, we have just inaugurated the Labour/Government Committee on Minimum Wage to jaw-jaw on the matter. Rest assured that the present Administration will continue to ensure that staff welfare and development is accorded prime importance.
My dear compatriots, you are the only reason we are in government. As we have maintained repeatedly, your welfare will always define what we do. That is the reason we put you first in all that we do.
We are resolved to serve you better this year when our economic plans would have started yielding dividends. We have demonstrated to the nation and the world that we are a peaceful and enterprising State.
I admonish you, therefore, to continue to exude and maintain the Omoluabi fundamentals of peace, hard work, honesty, resourcefulness and selflessness that have earned us laurels as a people and a State.
We solicit your continued support and prayers as we enter this second year. I pray that the good Lord will continue to bless you, guide and guard you and your family, and grant you blessings throughout the New Year.
I wish you a peaceful and prosperous Year 2020.
May God continue to keep and bless The State of Osun.