The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reassured residents that the government would continue to prioritise the creation of more opportunities to attract investors and improve livelihoods in a concerted effort to drive sustainable development.
Obaseki gave the assurance when he received Grace Cramer, the Manufacturing Africa Adviser at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
The governor noted, “For us in Edo as a government, it’s about sustainability and human capacity development.
“What we have tried to do is improve the quality of life of our people as we have undertaken a lot of reforms. The government, over the last decade, operated in silos, which created room for so much waste. For the past few months, we have been able to sit back to see how we could reform the government internally and organise the MDAs, which is the most important agenda in terms of reforms.
“The second is to change the way the government thinks and behaves; since the mid-sixties and the Civil War, it is like the government has operated for itself, not for the people. We are letting our leaders know that they are only in office because of the people and because of the services they render to the people.”
He continued: “We are getting the government to begin to see itself as an enabler, making things happen. There is nothing wrong with the government making its citizens rich and wealthy. Let’s get out of that military mindset whereby the government is threatened that if the people have more money than the government, they will form a coup.
“The key responsibility of the government is how to make its citizens rich and wealthy; it’s only by having successful citizens that you can have a successful state. The utilization of computers is very important, for efficiency and transparency.
“So, we are investing in technology in the perspective of training our people in the use of technology for data analysis and all of that. We are also thinking big on encouraging investors to build our own port. Why can’t we dominate the ICT in the continent?” he queried.
Meanwhile, Country Coordinator, Nigeria Manufacturing Africa, Yasmin Osaghae, said that they have identified Edo as a top priority for engagement, noting that they believe that the state has the fundamentals to become the foremost investment location in Nigeria.
“Key factors to this include enabling infrastructures; the state has access to power and water facilities; the OSSIOMO power plant and Industrial Park are prime examples on how businesses in Benin can have access to 24/7 hours reliable electricity and water supply.
“Edo has a skilled workforce, as 60 per cent of the population are of working age and Edo is among the top seven states with a very strong education. Edo also has very strong business support from the government and collaborations amongst all MDAs.”
On her part, Grace Cramer said they are looking for a deep partnership with the Edo State Government.