Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has called for concerted efforts among stakeholders to solve critical matters in the manufacturing sector to ensure that Nigeria is able to produce what it consumes and reduce excess wastes on importation.
Obaseki made the call while declaring open a workshop organized by the Manufacturing Africa and Edo State Investment Promotion Office, at the Government House in Benin City.
He stated, “The situation that we are in Nigeria today is so critical; critical not only because we are a poor country but because the bulk of what we consume is imported. There is no manufacturing.
“That was okay when we had money to import, but today we don’t. The price of imported items will keep going up and many more Nigerians will not be able to afford these.”
He said embracing local manufacture is the solution.
“The solution is that we now have to begin to manufacture the things that we consume because if we don’t, we will be in trouble in the next few years,” he warned.
Reiterating the need to strengthen the manufacturing sector, Obaseki noted that the government is not leading the drive and there is no investment culture.
“Why are we not manufacturing today? It is because the government and civil servants are not leading in that drive to encourage investors.
“When investors come to set up a business, it appears like you are doing the investors a favour and most times, they don’t even know where to go, they go from one ministry to another.
“The ministry will just make things difficult for the investor. The process of doing business or manufacturing is difficult already, and because of our import mentality, we caused obstacles on the way. We have not had an investment culture for a long time.”
But tressing the importance of investors, the Edo governor explained:
“We are not welcoming investors, particularly in the manufacturing investment area. From when I became a governor, I made it clear that one of our priorities is to empower young people, focusing on job creation.
“But who is going to provide the jobs? Is it the government? That’s not possible as the majority of the jobs in society are created by private businesses.
He stated his government’s committed to encouraging investments to create jobs.
“We hope that this exercise will take us a step forward. We will make our commitment as a government that whatever is going to encourage and make the investment process easy, that is what we are going to do.
“We will create the environment and make the land available; we will make infrastructure available and ensure government agencies put the investment processes in place. We challenge you to bring investors to us and see how the process will work,” he charged.
Responding, the country coordinator, Nigeria Manufacturing Africa, Yasmin Osaghae, said the organization is keen on finding how best to drive investment in Edo State.
Yasmin stressed that it was necessary to assist the state in removing bottlenecks that impede investments in order for investors to seamlessly set up in the state.