The Managing Director of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, has urged businesses in the state to maximize the digitized services provided by the government to boost their operations.
Uwaibi made the call in Benin City on June 21, 2023, at a two-day workshop on the development of a state-inclusive digital economy plan and strategy framework.
The workshop was held in partnership with the Edo State Ministry of Digital Economy, Science and Technology, ICTA, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Nigerian Economic Summit Group Policy Innovation (NESG/PIC), and Tech4Dev. It brought together stakeholders from government, the private sector, and civil society to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the digital economy in Edo State.
Addressing the attendees, Uwaibi highlighted the opportunities for businesses to process regulatory documentation online, such as taxes, Certificate of Occupancy (CofO), and building permits, to ease their burden. He said that the workshop was a critical step in developing Edo State’s digital economy and that it would help the state identify the challenges and opportunities facing its digital economy and develop a plan to address them.
He pointed to the streamlining of service level agreements in land administration to ensure that Certificates of Occupancy (CofO) are delivered within 30 days; the Ministry of Physical Planning making it possible for businesses to request building permits online, without the need for a middleman; the Edo State Business Enquiry and Request Portal built into the E-GOV platform to help businesses get their inquiries resolved by MDAs; and the tier 3 and tier 4 data centers in the State, as some of the key areas digitization has been deployed in the economy of the State.
Explaining the resilience built into businesses in Edo before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Uwaibi also highlighted that the government is working with the justice system to resolve claims below N5 million without the need for legal representation through its small claims court.
“It’s a good thing what is happening in Edo State,” said Uwaibi. “As we deliberate on the way forward for Edo’s digital economy, one thing that is important is our interaction with the private sector. During and after the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the things we tried to do in the state was to ensure business continuity; in trying to do that, technology and the digital economy were highly prominent.
“So around 2020 we and our partners had begun the process to train MSMEs to go online because we wanted businesses to thrive. By the time the pandemic struck we had trained over 445 businesses in the digital economy and that made businesses in Edo resilient and helped them survive the pandemic.”
He continued: “We are committed to making sure that everyone in the state has the opportunity to benefit from the digital economy,” said Uwaibi. “We believe that digitization is the key to economic growth and development, and we are working hard to make it as easy as possible for businesses to take advantage of its opportunities.”
The workshop was a success and it has helped to lay the foundation for the development of Edo State’s digital economy. The state government is committed to making sure that everyone in the state has the opportunity to benefit from the digital economy, and this workshop was a step in the right direction.