SPEECH: “Our New Focus Is Agriculture, Solid Mineral Development And Industrialisation” – Aregbesola

Commissioning of New Effluent Treatment Plant 4




It gives me great pleasure to be present at the commissioning of the new effluent treatment plant and expansion project of International Breweries Plc in Ilesa, the city of God.

I must commend the vision and forthrightness of the founder, late Dr Lawrence Omole, and the owners and managers of this company for complying with international best practices and the aptness of the commissioning of effluent treatment plant to coincide with the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France.

The effluent treatment being commissioned today, I am made to understand, is top of the range in Africa and can handle up to 7,250kg Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) per day and an effluent volume of 1,800m3 per day. The first derivable from the waste is biogas which will be used to fire the boilers and thus reduce the cost of energy. The second is recycled clean water that can be used for other purposes in the firm while the third, solid waste, is converted to fertiliser.

Concern for the environment has been an issue since the industrial revolution and the emergence of cities. There have been worries on the depletion of the ozone layer through carbon emission; deforestation for cities and highways to emerge; the destruction of the earth’s fauna and flora; and pollution of the environment.

One of the fallouts of industrialisation is pollution of the environment from industrial and household wastes. One definition of pollution sees it as the ‘contamination of air, water, or soil by substances that are harmful to living organisms’. Another one see it as “the addition of any substance or form of energy (e.g., heat, sound, radioactivity) to the environment at a rate faster than the environment can accommodate it by dispersion, breakdown, recycling, or storage in some harmless form”. This second one is interesting in that it recognises that substances can be added to the environment but when it occurs at a rate faster than the environment can accommodate, it becomes harmful and should be of serious concern.

Development, no doubt, brings its own challenges. One of it is pollution. Another is depletion of earth’s non-replaceable resources and depletion of the replaceable ones at a rate faster than they are being replaced. In an atmosphere of unbridled depletion of resources, we are invariably taking more than our fair share of earth’s resources and making the planet less habitable for future generations.

We are therefore creating the false impression that environmental friendliness is mutually incompatible with development. However, if we adopt the right measures and follow regulations, what we will have is sustainable development.

It gladdens my heart that IBL Plc is complying with international best practices and should be emulated by other industrial concerns in the state. We are seeing from its good example that there is no waste in nature; what we need is to understand and flow with the cycle of life in an unending chain of translation of materials from one form to another.

I was here two years ago to commission a N500 million new production line, in a major expansion of the production capacity of this company. I am happy that you have even moved beyond that and carrying out another expansion. It is an indication of the industry, zeal and relentlessness of the managers.

Moving through the West, one cannot but notice your increasing presence and acceptability which translate to increasing market share. I commend you. But you must do more, not just to dominate your immediate environment but to spread to other regions as well and ultimately make your brands international by venturing outside the country. On our part, we will continue to support you and help to realise your vision to expand and take your products to the farthest reach of the world.

As I said two years ago, it is our vision that an industrial hub develops around you where allied industries that support you or feed off your operations can develop, prime one of which is agriculture and allied industries.

In October, we signed an MOU with a Chinese consortium to start an agriculture and industrial park in Osun which will be cited in Ilesa. Last month, we also signed an agreement with IITA to start agriculture demonstration farm and research centre at Orile Owu.

These, and many more, are designed to stimulate development from bottom up, lay the foundation for industrialisation, create opportunities for our youth and generate wealth, which will translate into increased revenue for government. Your firm is in a pole position to maximise the opportunities provided by these developments.

Given the falling price of oil and diminishing revenue from the sector, we are already looking beyond oil for revenue, sustenance and meeting our obligations and fulfilling our electoral promises to the people of the state. Our new focus is agriculture, solid mineral development and industrialisation. This indeed should be the focus of the wise who is thinking beyond the financial catastrophe that befell this nation since 2013 on account of falling revenue from the Federation Accounts.

This company boisterously began production of the Trophy lager in 1978 but lapsed into a lull in the 1990s until the coming of Samiller that has taken its stock to rise in leaps and bounds with many brands in lager beer, mineral water and malt drink. I congratulate you and wish you greater strides.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

Osun a dara!