The Edo State Government has said that the vibrant private sector scene in the state has benefited immensely from the favourable policies designed to attract investment and remove bottlenecks that hinder business growth.
Head, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Kelvin Uwaibi, who said this in a chat with journalists in Benin City, explained that “The state government is presently working on an economic zone as part of strategies to provide incentives to the industrial park in collaboration with the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).”
He noted that this would accelerate the relocation of industries and factories in the state which will benefit from the 55MW Ossiomo Independent Power Plant and opportunities that would stem from the 6000bpd Edo Modular Refinery being developed with support from the Governor Obaseki-led government in the state.
He added that the government’s efforts in expanding the business space has been validated by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which recently reported that the unemployment rate in the state has dropped by 6.1 per cent.
He further said that the state government has sustained robust engagement with the private sector in the state, which has resulted in the provision of bespoke services to encourage and promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and other players in the space.
According to him, “On private sector engagement, the World Bank in January 2019 had a joint visit with ESIPO to over 30 major businesses in the state to collaborate on business-friendly policies and recommendations to the government. In the same year, the United States of America Consulate General; British High Commissioner; Ambassadors of Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Japan visited the state with the purpose of trade facilitation, investment competitiveness, ease of doing business, and reduction of illegal migration through assisting the state to boost economic activities.
“The reform policies of the administration have led to the attraction of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Bolt, Super Stores such as Market Square, Kilimanjaro, Jara Mall to the state. In the agriculture space, we have attracted Dufil Group, the brand owners of Indomie and Ellah lakes Plc. The state can today boast of five major airlines flying in and out of Benin City.”
Noting that the state has continued to promote small businesses, he said, “Presently we are working on a programme to make the majority of MSMEs in the state technology-enabled. We are doing this with major donor partners. The COVID-19 pandemic is making us fast-track the process.