Ease of doing business reforms prep Edo as latest power hub – Govt

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…As state ratifies solar plant proposal in Edo North

The Edo State Government has said that the state is now poised to become the latest power generation hub in Nigeria, with the coming on stream of the Azura-Edo Power and incursion of solar power operators in the Edo North axis.

This was disclosed by Chairman, Edo State Strategic Planning Team, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, during a chat with journalists in Benin City, the state capital.

Prof. Ihonvbere said that the ease of doing business reforms in the state have significantly reduced the turn-around time for investment propositions in the state, adding that it “now takes seven days to complete the processing of land papers in the state through the Investment Bureau.”

Noting that reforms in easing investment transactions are yielding positive results, he said, “We have set up an ease of doing business committee and an investment bureau to serve as a one-stop shop for investors, so they don’t have to deal with bureaucracies. Once you come into Edo, you have a one-stop shop and everything you need is provided for. This goes a long way to reduce the ‘red-tape’ in such transactions. If you need land, we have a land bank; we can give you land. Within the maximum of a week, you should get all your papers.

He added that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration is focused on investments that would boost productivity and engage youths, stressing that the focus on industrialisation is a deliberate strategy to create opportunities for investment in energy, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), manufacturing, oil and gas, among others.

According to him, “In Edo, we are providing the kind of leadership that is focused on those areas that are productive. We are not emphasising jobs in the civil service. The governor has made it clear that he is not going to sack anybody unless they break the law.

“We want to grow the agricultural sector, expand the industrial sector, and we are paying a lot of attention on technical and vocational education so that people can receive training, set up their own businesses, earn money and live a better life.”

On the increasing number of power companies investing in the state, he said, “In terms of productive capacity, Edo is making a lot of progress. We have companies here that are working on power. We have not just Azura-Edo Power and Ossiomo Investment, but also Siemens. There’s is a huge plant that is coming up in Edo North that wants to build a huge plant for solar energy that will serve Edo State. We have signed a power purchase agreement to buy electricity that will service all government ministries and parastatals so that productivity can increase.”

He assured that the state has a deliberate strategy to ensure investors employ youths in the state, adding, “When an investor wants to come to Edo State, we look at several factors. These include: what is the backward and forward linkage in what you want to do; how many people are you going to employ; what sort of technology are you going to use; how much are you bringing in, and how much do you need from the state government?

We ask if it is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project or a turnkey arrangement and how it will generate jobs in Edo State; what are the environmental and security implications? We ensure that the investors engage youths in the state as much as can be practicable.”

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