Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has described oil palm as the crop that will attract large scale investors if properly cultivated. He said the state also has the capacity to generate over 10,000 megawatts of electricity.
Governor Obaseki made the assertions in Benin City, Edo state at during the launch of the Edo 30-Year Development Plan where he unveiled eight centers for the state’s economic transformation the Alaghodaro Annual Summit.
Obaseki said the project is a long-term project.
“Planning is not a document, it has to be a process; we have to live it and that is what the Edo 30 Years Developmental Plan is all about. It’s broken into five-year periods and we have six of these periods.”
The centers for the state’s economic transformation, he said, include the Benin River Port, the proposed Airport in Edo North Senatorial District, Edo State Oil Palm Programme, Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and the Edo Production Centre, which also includes the Edo Tech Park, Innovation centres and various oil palm projects across the state.
The governor and private sector partners are upbeat on the impact of the annual summit and its role in driving public policy reforms, investment inflows, institutional reforms and sustained economic growth in the state.
“The Benin River Port project, for us, is going to be a game-changer. Our feasibility studies show so much potential and viability in that project. The Benin River Port could be the second most viable port in Nigeria, it is one infrastructure that we must build.
“We are leveraging on the key advantage of oil palm. We are aware that the oil palm is that crop that will bring large scale investors in the way we envision it. We are going to continue leveraging on technology to drive the future of our dear state’, the governor stated.
He added: “Edo has the capacity to generate over 10,000 megawatts of electricity, and we will do so. Our goal is that within the shortest time possible, we should be able to build over 200km of streetlights in the Benin metropolis.”
Obaseki said raising needed fund for the envisaged transformation of the state would not be a problem.
“As an investment banker, I know that the money we need to make Edo State the economic hub of the country is not a problem”.
He added that the state already has a record pointing the way in the health and education sectors.
“We have sustained the reforms in the healthcare system, ensuring our people have access to quality and affordable health services.
“We are transforming the Central Hospital and building a new Stella Obasanjo Hospital in our efforts to drive the needed change in the healthcare system in Edo State.ZSA
“I have no doubt in my mind that with the foundation we have laid in our basic education system, the future of our children in various basic schools across the state is very bright.”
Chairman Alaghodaro Economic Summit LTD/GTE and Sterling Bank, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, said the summit which was conceived by Governor Obaseki, has served as a formidable platform for forging ideas and strategies to support the economic, social and development plans of the state government.
“The Summit has created great opportunities for cross-pollination between the private sector, public sector, civil society, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders in Edo State and enabled diversified but constructive views on the path to achieving the Edo State of our dreams.
“Recommendations from previous summits have been adopted by the government and have become policy, now contributing substantially to the government’s development agenda and plans for the attainment of sustained high growth rate, regardless of global and national headwinds.”
According to him, the wellbeing of every Edo citizen is the passion of the governor.
“Without a shred of doubt, building a solid economic future for our state and assuring the happiness, livelihood and wellbeing of all the people that live in Edo State is the cardinal objective of this government and the driving thought of, every waking moment of Mr. Governor”.
He commended efforts so far made to reposition the state.
“I applaud the fundamental and necessary foundation laying, rebuilding and substantial institutional reforms which have been implemented in the last five years, especially in our civil service, judiciary, Inland Revenue Services, health and education sectors, arts and culture and our infrastructure space,” Ighodalo stated.
In his keynote address, the group managing director, Saroafrica International Limited, Rasheed Sarumi said the state has, “an abundance of enablers to accelerate the actualization of the governor’s 30-year vision’’. He added that with “Obaseki’s approach to governance, Edo is on the path to actualizing the state of our dreams”.
According to him, “The literacy level in Edo State is one of the highest in the country and the state needs to leverage on that. People and knowledge are the enablers needed to accelerate the dreams of Edo State in transforming the lives of the citizens and improving their livelihoods.”
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