Edo State may be witnessing huge investments in the water, energy and other sectors of the economy as the state government has opened talks with its Swedish counterpart on viable investment opportunities to create employment and grow the state’s economy.
Head, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi disclosed this in Benin City when he received the Swedish Ambassador, Mr. Carl Michael Grans, who led a team of investors to the state.
Others present at the meeting were Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Moses Agbukor; Commissioner for Energy and Electricity, Hon. Akinola Agbaje; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public-Private Partnership, Yamen Makogwu and the Senior Special Assistant on Donor Agencies, Hon. Emmanuel Sule.
Uwaibi, who emphasised the readiness of the state government to partner with the investors, highlighted ongoing projects of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration that have continued to attract investors into the state.
According to him, “The ongoing projects include the Benin Industrial Zone in Sapele Road axis of Benin City; the Benin Enterprise Park; the Automobile Park, and the Edo Oil Palm Initiative.”
He said the Obaseki-led administration is leveraging on water and renewable energy to grow to state’s economy, adding, “The role of power cannot be overemphasised in all of these. Already, Edo State is contributing about 700 megawatts to the national power grid”
Speaking earlier on the investment opportunities in the water sector, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Agbukor explained the viability of the sector with reference to sanitation, noting that there was no better time for the Swedish Government to come to Edo State than now as the Obaseki-led administration’s reforms are opening the state to investors.
He said: “The Edo State Government in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Niger Delta Support Programme (NDSP) has over 173 water schemes and sanitation projects functioning today in the state. We took delivery of 5000 prepaid water meters yesterday which we imported from South Africa for the Uromi/Ugbokhai Water Scheme. The idea is to give an understanding of the viability of the water sector. The government decided that we must give water to our people. Hence it must be accessible, affordable and portable.
“We have moribund schemes which constitute one side of the component. In my office, we have prototypes of sanitation facilities which we intend to be situated in strategic places in the urban cities especially in the local government headquarters. This is also derivable from the fact that by the year 2025, we must be Open Defecation Free certified. To do that, we must take responsibility. If we cannot do it, we must open up space for investors to come in. The sanitation facilities will also provide employment for our youths.”
Earlier, Ambassador Michael commended the Obaseki-led government for its efforts at encouraging investment in the state, adding, “This seems to be a perfect match. I can see that you have so many projects in different areas and you have a vision of where you want to be in the next 25 years and beyond. And with power, water, housing and many other possibilities as I have seen, we can work together.”