The Edo State Government is seeking collaboration with local and international investors to develop a Free Trade Zone in the State.
The proposed Free Zone will be sited on the thousands of hectares of land along the Benin and Sapele expressway.
Governor Godwin Obaseki who made this known in Lagos during an investment forum, organised by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce, said arrangements are been made for the provision of core infrastructure at the site.
“That property has forty megawatts of electricity, it borders a river; river oziomo, that means, I can put the water in, we are already talking to another agency that is going to make funding available for some of the infrastructure; gas networks, roads, sewage facilities, etc.
We need to partner and it is best to come in at an early stage” he said
Governor Obaseki who expressed dismay about the rising cost of living, especially food said he is keen to work on food processing.
“For the first time in a long while, I am getting worried because with escalating food prices, anything can happen, agriculture is a low hanging fruit, there’s really no reason in the world why we are spending what we are spending importing food, why will we be spending five hundred million naira importing milk, why? There are some of us in government who understand how business works, you should engage with us and very very quickly too, there’s an urgency, we must step back from lamenting, we just have to make things work. There’s only one sector, the Nigerian sector, I don’t know about private or public, because without a country, there cannot be any sector” the Governor emphasized.
He listed other available investment opportunities in Edo state to include; Edo Tech Park, Edo State Oil Palm Programme, and the Cultural District.
Governor Obaseki revealed that two archaelogical teams are currently working in Benin City, while his administration is building a museum to accommodate repatriated artifacts and also working to restore monuments across the State.
According to Governor Obaseki, human capacity development has been given a boost through preparation of Edo State indigenes for the world of work locally and globally, while a large number of young men and women are being trained to become experts in technology.
He emphasized that the Benin River Port currently under construction would decongest Nigeria’s premiere port in Apapa, Lagos when completed.
The Benin River Port is about 37 nautical miles from the Atlantic ocean.
The Governor who pointed out that the State is also experiencing rapid population growth just like Lagos, noted that Edo is the second or third largest second hand car market in the country and when the Benin River Port becomes operational, it will not just reduce the pressure on Apapa, but also boost the State economy.
Governor Obaseki announced that at the end of his tenure, he intends to leave a legacy of generating a 60:40 allocation ratio, with 60% of internally generated revenues and 40% federal allocation, instead of the current status quo.
While welcoming participants to the forum, the President of the NBCC, Mrs Bisi Adeyemi said it was part of the Chamber’s cardinal objective to provide first hand information on investment opportunities available across Nigeria to foreign investors and in particular the United Kingdom
“Nigeria is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa, we believe that this is going to provide a good opportunity for people to identify opportunities for collaboration with Edo state,” she said.