The Town Hall Meetings have been genuine platforms where all opinions are not only explored, but are critically examined for the growth and development of our dear State.
Thus, having a people-oriented Budget has always been a priority of our Administration in our “Mission to Re-build” Ogun State.
Today’s meeting is a further testament to the fact that, we take cognizance of our people in the decision-making and running of the Government in Ogun State. A government that is run with the understanding and inputs of the governed is, a practical expression of the beauty of democracy, which we have sworn to defend and uphold at all times. Just as I have reiterated on several occasions, we are trustees in the service of Ogun State, and, we owe our complete allegiance to the general public, who have entrusted us with the fate of our dear State. It is, and will always, be about our people.
It is on this apt note, that I join others to specially welcome you all to yet another Town Hall Meeting, which is essential for the consideration of the 2018 Budget. For us in Ogun State, our budgetary process is not complete without the Town Hall Meetings. It is through the platform of the Town Hall Meetings that our Administration has continued to synergize with the good people of Ogun State to come up with people-oriented Budgets for the good of the people and the continued socio-economic development of our dear State.
No doubt, our working together has and will always elicit positive and fruitful outcomes. It is my belief that this will not be an exception. We are here again to jointly chart a course for our common good, through proper discussion, deliberation and cross-fertilization of ideas.
This very Town Hall Meeting is particularly significant in the sense that it is the last full year Budget of our Administration. Therefore, all hands must, as usual, be on deck to see that the successes we have jointly achieved are sustained until the end of our tenure, and that we leave a solid foundation that will provide a basis for further development of our dear State.
At the start of this year, we reviewed our achievements thus far, as well as areas where we believe more could still be done. We therefore drafted a State Development Plan (SDP) that spans years 2017 to 2030. The critical element of the SDP is the Agricultural Production and Industrialization Program, which has engendered strong support from our Development Partners, who are now increasing their financial and technical support. The key pillars of the Agricultural Production and Industrialization Program are as follows:
- Agricultural Production: Increasing the wealth and welfare of our farmers; Increased Industrialisation;
- Diversifying our economy to reduce our dependence on oil revenues, and create much needed jobs for our people;
- Skills Development: Empowering our youth through modern technical and vocational capacity-building; and,
- Governance and Administration: Strengthening Government’s ability to accurately plan and deliver services to our people.
Good people of Ogun State, we have left no one in doubt of our commitment to the transformation of our dear State and the burning desire to improve the standard of living of both the indigenes and all who have made Ogun State their home.
At this point, let me, once again, acknowledge and commend the good people of Ogun State for the high level of understanding, unflinching support, fervent prayers and ceaseless cooperation that our Administration has continued to enjoy ever since we assumed the mantle of leadership, and without which, all our efforts would have been a colossal waste and we would not have reached these unprecedented heights amongst the comity of States.
Let me use this opportunity to assure all our people that we not only remain undeterred in the execution of all our programmes and projects, but, will work assiduously to ensure that all on-going projects come to a successful conclusion before the end of our tenure in May, 2019. Suffice to say that your contributions have always been instrumental in the initiation, formulation, execution and success of the previous Budgets and I, sincerely believe that, this 2018 budget will also be given the needed attention.
Let me, therefore, urge you to make the best use of this forum by making useful contributions and suggestions that will further assist in the fulfilment of our collective dreams. Please join hands with our Administration through your invaluable contributions to the 2018 Budget with the mind-set that, together, we are building a legacy for future generations.
I thank you all for listening and we will now take your questions and comments.