Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday during the opportunity framing workshop organized by the Benin Enterprise Park (BEP) Technical Committee to drive private sector participation in the project, held on 13th June 2023, at Oti Hotel in Benin City, said the 997 hectares of land earmarked for the development of the BEP project is one that is strategically positioned to drive investment viability and sustainability.
Obaseki, while encouraging investors to leverage Edo’s business-friendly environment in kick-starting investments in the industrial layout, noted that the state is intensifying efforts to ensure the allocated land is possessed by Anchor Tenants within the next 12 months.
Obaseki says, “The Benin Enterprise Park, in our view, is one of the crowning joys for us as an administration. Interestingly, it is one of the first projects we embarked on about six and a half years ago. And the reason for its conceptualization, then, is even more relevant today.
“What is clear about the Nigerian economy is that there are certain advantages we enjoy as a country; huge population, a demography that consumes quite a lot, and a very aspirational population that is used to the good things of life. So, when we cannot find it, we travel to go and buy it and bring it here.
“But over time, because of the way we have managed our economy, we have not been able to satisfy our domestic demands because we are not producing enough, and because of the range of our population growth, we can no longer cover-up.
In the past, we have been used to covering up with import, but you can imagine importing food for 200 million people; it is not feasible anymore because we are not earning enough foreign exchange to support this import”.
Obaseki stressed that the country must now begin to add value and produce more of what it consumes domestically, noting that the key hindrance to production is an infrastructural deficit.
Speaking on the capacity of the BEP project, Obaseki said: “So we acquired this piece of land which is over nine hundred hectares; it is a whole city; the energy source is available, some of the basic infrastructure like road network is available.
The other key requirement, human capacity, would be built over time because, as a government, we have invested in education, particularly foundational education. So, in another 5, 7 years, I can assure you, we will produce the best engineers and technicians in this country here because we are focusing on education”.
Obaseki, while highlighting some of the outstanding features of Edo State, among which is the state being the most preferred investment-friendly destination in the country, noted that establishing the BEP project would revolutionize the manufacturing industry in the state and the country.
The Governor Godwin Obaseki commended the BEP team on laudable strides and strategies developed so far on the successful actualization of the project, noting optimism on the state’s ability to attract Anchor Tenants to possess the allocated land within the next 12 months.