…as Ighodalo, Igiehon, others see economic boom in Edo with Benin Enterprise Park, Cultural District, Ossiomo Power, others
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has set an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) target of N60 billion for the state in 2023 at the Alaghodaro Investment Summit, holding in Benin City, the state capital.
The summit is organised yearly, in partnership with the private sector, to mark the anniversary of Governor Godwin Obaseki in office and showcase the progress being recorded in transforming the state into an investment haven.
This year’s edition, to mark the governor’s 6th anniversary, themed “Edo’s Transformation: Partnerships, Resilience, Impact,” is taking place between Friday, November 11 and Sunday, November 13, 2022.
Dignitaries at the event include the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II; Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Secretary to Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq.; Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Osaigbovo Iyoha; Commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Olaitan Bamidele, and Chief Imam of Benin Kingdom, Alhaji Fatai Enabulele, among others.
Experts at the event predicted a positive economic outlook in Edo on the back of the Benin Enterprise Park, the Cultural District, Modular Refinery, Ossiomo Power Company and other numerous transformative reforms and projects pursued by the state government.
Obaseki, in his address, said the state’s growth will come from leveraging its comparative advantage and exploring opportunities in culture, forestry, manufacturing, agriculture and technology, among other sectors of the state’s economy, to drive development.
The governor said, “We see growth ahead of us and this growth is going to come from certain endowments that we have which most people don’t have. Our culture – people must come and see us and admire what our forebears built. Our forestry assets – the world is talking about net zero carbon and we have something to contribute to the environment and environmental economy.
“Manufacturing is the way to go. Edo has the largest onshore gas reserve in Nigeria with most of our other gas in the swamps and the offshore. With that energy source, there’s no reason we cannot generate enough energy to attract investors to drive industrialization. Agriculture; that’s what we grew up with. Of our 19 million square kilometres of land, there’s practically no way we cannot grow something. For us, the future is technology, because the world is talking about technology and that is the new area of focus.”
Noting that the government hopes to raise over N60bn in 2023 from internally generated revenue, Obaseki said, “In the last six years, things have not been easy, but we have tried in our own little way. You can see that from 2016 when we got in, we tried to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Except for the COVID-19 year, we sustained an increase in our IGR and we hope to end the next year with over 60bn IGR.”
Reinstating the need to rebase the nation’s economy from consumption to production, the governor stated, “In spite of all the challenges that face as a country, we have over 200 million people who are going to be 450 million in 2050 and will not stop consuming. Therefore, if this is our reality, it means that we cannot and should not be despondent.
“God has given us something that he has not given to many countries around the world. We have a huge domestic market and these over 200 million people have to consume. If we cannot import, are we going to die? We will have to create the things we consume in this country. That is why the government must now rely on those who have the capacity and knowledge to produce the things that we consume. Government cannot continue to behave as if they have all the resources because they don’t. The people who have the resources are, you, the citizens – the private sector. Hence, the government has to be restructured to ensure that they trust us and are able to bring the resources we need for the benefit of all of us.
“Hence, states will have to reorder their priorities and that is what we have done over the last six years, to make sure that we can meet our financial obligations to the people who work for the government and our citizens,” he added.