The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration has cut barriers to trade, such as multiple taxation, unruly land allocation practices such as the old Community Development Association (CDA), and strengthening a host of investment enablers, to make the state attractive for investors.
The governor disclosed this while declaring open, a one-day investment promotion summit in Benin City, the Edo State capital, organised to intimate businesses in the state with a £10m potential investment inflow proposed by the Market Development Programme in the Niger Delta (MADE) for the state.
The summit which was organised by the Edo State Investment Portfolio (ESIP) in collaboration with MADE, featured deliberations on solutions to irregular migration by exploring alternative means of livelihoods and opportunities for income generation by members of vulnerable groups.
The event also kick-started the process of developing an investment brochure that will attract firms, industries and boost economic activities in Edo State.
Obaseki, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Taiwo Akerele, said that in the last two years, his administration has continued to push key reforms that have stimulated business growth through improved ease of doing business in the state.
He noted, “As a government, we want businesses residing here to flourish and we will continue to formulate policies that will continue to stimulate the state’s economy. We have witnessed ithe nflux of businesses and many others have indicated interest to relocate their businesses to the state from other states in the country.”
The governor said some of the key reforms being put in place by his administration include flexible tax system, galvanised security architecture and fully automated, speedy and fraud-free Geographic Information System for land allocation.
Representative of the Investment Portfolio Management of the Market Development Programme in the Niger Delta (MADE II), a programme funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), Rufus Idris, noted that vital aspects of the programme will x-ray how Edo State can be positioned for marketability to local and international investors.
Idris explained, “We want to make Edo State attractive to them. This would encourage them to want to take that risk to expand or open up a new part of their business or investment in Edo. Our target between now and 2020 is to reach 55,000 people with alternative and inspirational investment opportunities.”
He added, “We also intend to assist 30,000 groups increase their income and most importantly help Edo State attract 10 million pounds in investment to the state targeting various sectors including agriculture, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Renewable energy, fashion and beauty, wholesale and retail as well as entertainment.”
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investment Promotion, Kelvin Uwaibi, said the event was aimed at engaging stakeholders in the state and potential investors willing to invest, and “let them know the reforms the government has put in place so far to encourage investment and ensure conducive business environment.”
“When we encourage investment in the state and investors come to invest, it will boost job creation. We are looking at a situation where these investors will come in and we have people doing things by the side that can support them,” he said.