The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier, on Monday, said that his country’s government was prepared to partner Oyo State government in areas of agriculture, tourism and healthcare.
Pasquier who led a French delegation on a courtesy visit to Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, said that the French government also has interest in developing strong links that could assist tertiary institutions in the state.
He pledged that the bilateral relationship between France and the Oyo State governments would continue.
The envoy appreciated the state government for the hospitality accorded him and his entourage since they arrived in the state.
In his remark, Makinde said that the state was partnering the French government in order to broaden the state’s economy and ensure better life for the people.
According to him, the partnership had yielded positive results for the state’s economic expansion agenda, while also broadening the state’s economic landscape.
Makinde said that part of the positive results recorded in the state’s economic expansion efforts was the 26.4 per cent growth in its Internally Generated Revenue in the first half of 2020, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He expressed delight at the close relationship between the state, the French Embassy and the Government of France.
The governor said that Oyo state was open to collaborating with France on several projects in areas of education, agriculture, security and economic expansion.
“We are happy to have this close relationship with the French Embassy and the Government of France.
“Since the last time we visited together, there have been positive changes in the economic landscape of Oyo State. For example, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Oyo State still witnessed 26.4 per cent growth in our IGR.
“We have also been addressing the infrastructural deficit of the state and that has been helping us to actually boost the economy,” he said.
Makinde also said that his administration was ready to seek help where necessary to turn around the economy of the state.
He added that the state was ready and open to businesses that could bring development and growth to the economy.
“Like the ambassador mentioned, we are collaborating on several fronts and projects right now. And we want to thank you, the French Government, for your contribution to the RAAMP project.
”I know it is yet to take off fully but we are ready. All the necessary committees to drive it have been put in place and they are ready.
“Also, the Farmers’ Wholesale Market that we are trying to set up at Akufo, it will interest you to know that from Apete, we are fixing the road all the way to Akufo. Work is really going on there.
“We are excited because it is supposed to be the largest market in South-West, Nigeria. So, we thank you for your support on that and we hope to still work collaboratively on it.
“Oyo State is ready for business and we have tried as much as possible to be open because we believe transparency is very key. We believe there are programmes we can tailor to fit what we need.”
The governor said that the state had put in serious commitments and investments into creating a secure and conducive environment for businesses to grow.
“I also want to let you know that we have made so much progress in terms of security as well, because we believe that all of the investment drive and the good things we want to do can only take place in a safe and secure environment.
”So we are investing quite a huge amount to ensure that when people come to Ibadan and Oyo State in general, they don’t have to think twice on whether they are safe or not.” Makinde stated.
The governor, however, appealed to the French delegation to assist the state in the occupational and educational programme that could boost the state’s education system.