The Edo State Government is to unveil its economic blueprint fashioned after the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, on April 5, 2017.
The 168-page EGRP document covers years 2017-2020 and has been described by experts in economics and public administration as a well articulated set of guiding principles for the economic management.
In line with the provisions of the EGRP for the growth of the nation’s non-oil sector, the Godwin Obaseki-led government in Edo State will at the Alaghodaro Investment Summit showcase its ambitious agricultural programmes that gave birth to the Edo Fertiliser and Chemical Company, which was commissioned by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in Auchi, to boost the local production of fertiliser in the state.
The Edo Fertiliser Plant and Chemical Company Limited, is a public-private venture which has the capacity to produce about 60,000 metric tones of fertiliser per annum.
Also to be paraded at the Investment Summit which will be attended by captains of industry, is the Edo State Saro Farm in Sobe, Owan West Local Government Area of the state, where harvest is currently ongoing.
The Public-Private Partnership initiative with Saro Agro Sciences Ltd., a leading company in agribusiness, was conceived by Governor Godwin Obaseki to create jobs for thousands of youths across the state.
According to Obaseki, the maize farm is part of his administration’s accelerated agriculture initiative to boost job creation in the state, as between 50,000 to 80,000 agricultural jobs would be created before the end of the year in the state.
The first phase of the initiative targets job creation for 1,000 farmers through the cultivation of 5,000 hectares of maize farms across five local government areas of the state.
The Edo Industrial Park which has received positive reviews by development analysts will top discourses at panel and technical sessions during the three-day Alaghodaro Investment Summit in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
On completion, the industrial park will be linked to the Azura-Edo Independent Power Plant (IPP) under construction, situated close to Nigeria’s main trunkline, the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) which is only 1km from the Azura-Edo project site.
On job creation, the 200,000 job target of Edo State will be reviewed at the summit side by side with the sectors that can produce the highest number of jobs, as encapsulated in the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan.
Infrastructure is top priority for the Obaseki administration which informed the creation of a separate Ministry of Infrastructure in the state to drive the realisation of the Gelegele Seaport, the expansion of the Benin Airport in partnership with the federal government and the construction of intra-city and inter-state roads amongst other projects.
Ease of Doing Business is a major item that received the EGRP attention. At the moment, Nigeria is ranked No. 169 out of 190 countries. The plan envisages improved ranking to around No 100 within the plan period.
The efforts of the Edo State Government in removing barriers to trade and investment includes the signing into law, the Private Property Protection Law. The law has criminalised the activities of Community Development Associations in the state. The CDAs were notorious for harassing land owners by making them pay all sorts of illegal levies and fraudulently sold people’s property until the PPA Law was put in place by the Obaseki-led government.
According to Dr Alex Oti, a banker, “The ERGP represents the first blue print by this administration to not only deal with the present economic meltdown, but also to ensure growth in the medium term.”