Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo State, has revealed that the state’s 115,000 civil servants collect N11 billion monthly.
The governor, OYOINSIGHT.COM learnt, told participants at the Nigerian-American Business Forum holding in Tampa, Florida, United States.
According to him, “Presently, Oyo State has 115,000 civil servants and a wage bill of N11 Billion per month, which is just 1.4 per cent of the total population. We can’t employ all the strong and energetic people in the state. Our job is to ensure we create opportunities that will be appealing to the private sector so they can come in and provide employment opportunities for 10 per cent of the population who are presently unemployed and create more opportunities to attract further investment.”
Speaking on the challenges the investors were likely to face, Makinde told the audience that though the challenges of insecurity in the country could make intending investors jittery, Oyo State has invested in securing the lives and properties of all within the borders of the State through collaborations with the Federal Police.
He said: “At the outset of this administration, we donated one hundred state-of-the-art security patrol vehicles to facilitate the movement and response time of the police. More recently, Oyo State has been at the forefront of the launch of the Western Nigeria Security Network code-named Amotekun. We have no doubts that Oyo will join the ranks of the safest places in the world in no time.
“Another issue that entrepreneurs often face is ease of entry. Nigeria has become infamous for corruption and it has become normal to bribe officials to get things done. In Oyo State, we favour openness and transparency. We have an open-door policy and this makes for accountability. None of our officials are allowed to solicit or receive bribes and kickbacks. Earlier in our administration, we signed the Oyo State Investment Promotion Act and the Oyo State Financial Crimes Commission Act.
“You will notice culture and attitudinal differences which may seem shocking. Your proactiveness and focus may also be challenged. But with an open mind, you will soon overcome those. Your attitude has to be that of a missionary ready to adopt and adapt. On our own part, we are working on making operations as seamless as possible. We are using technology and automation where possible to reduce human contact.
“We are also providing training for civil servants directed at changing their orientation and mindset. I must say that the Oyo State Civil Servants are on our side of the fence. They want these investments as much as we do and so they are doing their part.
“We all know that change is neither easy nor automatic but we have their buy-in. Because we are making government more people-centred by listening to them, they, in turn, are more willing to work with our administration. We also have a very effective feedback mechanism that ensures that people working against the system are ousted and such situations dealt with. So have no fear.
“When it comes to acquiring permits, and this is an area where the usual bureaucracy and red tape leads to wasted man hours, we have taken steps to cut down the time that is usually spent acquiring documentation. For instance, before now, it would take about three to four months to acquire your Certificate of Occupancy after purchasing land. We are keeping that process within two months. We know we can further simplify it, but this is just a start.
“Coming from the Diaspora, especially the United States where you do not even think about power supply, to Nigeria where you have to factor in the cost of energy supply can be a huge burden. What we are doing in Oyo State is improving the power situation through investment in alternate sources of power. Presently, we are talking to Shell Nigeria Gas for gas supply and several other suppliers for independent power project.
“In all, I am happy to tell you that Oyo State is open for business. And that is why my team and I have come here.”