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FG yields to pressure, awards oil block license to Ondo for bitumen exploration

The Federal Government on Tuesday announced the award of an oil block license to Ondo State Government for bitumen exploration.

According to the Minister of Mines and Steels Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who made this known at the 1st Ondo State Investment Forum held at the International Event Center (DOME), Akure, the state capital, “the license was granted to the state as part of the efforts of the federal government to diversify the economy and boost the country’s foreign exchange”.

Represented by the Director of Mining License in the Ministry, Engr. Mohammed Amate, the Minister said the bitumen reserve in Ondo State can serve the whole of Africa hence the federal government’s decision to explore the opportunity towards economic development of the country.

“Nigeria currently imports over 600,000 tons of asphalt per annum and the nation spends billions of naira on importation of asphalt every year. The naira is weak now because of much demand for dollar and less demand for naira and the poor export policy in the country.

“With bitumen being produced in Ondo State, the Federal Government will ensure that none of its road contractors imports asphalt and I am sure that many state governments will prefer to buy from Ondo state because it will definitely be cheaper here than imports from outside the country”, Fayemi said.

Earlier in his remarks, the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, thanked the federal government for finding his state worthy for partnership; stressing that for the initiative to function optimally, the Federal Government should prioritize and patronize the mining industry.

The process for the deal was facilitated by the Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative (PEDI) who brokered the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and WEMS Agro Ltd for the planting of rice in over 5,000 hectares of land at Akotogbo in Irele Local Government Area of the state.