Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has presented Certificates of Occupancy to major investors in the agriculture sector of the economy in the State, saying the state government would do everything possible to support investors and encourage fresh investments in the state.
The Governor who has taken major steps to make the state the economic and industrial hub of the South-South said the state Government “understands what it means to identify with this part of the country, investing in an area that requires a long term gestation period. I think your action, more than words, demonstrates an uncommon level of confidence in our country and in Edo State. I believe what we have done today is historic, but I am also convinced that future government will have no choice but to build on it.”
The Governor reaffirmed his commitment to the provision of enabling environment for investment, “On the occasion of the seventh anniversary of this administration, I made a point that we were very clear from the outset what we wanted to do. We have clear responsibility cut out for us in the area of provision of infrastructure, security, all of those elements that translate into what investors call enabling environment so that those who are better equipped who have the know-how and have the resources can come in and take advantage of these facilities to invest. And I am happy that this is paying off.”
He noted that Edo State is already a huge destination for investment adding that “earlier this year, we formally commissioned the construction of a major power project, Azura Power Plant which is about a billion dollar project. And I know that for agro-business, you also need power supply, and in the very near future, Edo State will be a hub of power generation and distribution. Just last month, precisely on April 10, we also did the ground-breaking ceremony of a one billion dollar cement plant which is going to be the largest in Africa. And we have several other businesses that have been located in Edo State between 2011 to date. As they say, we are still counting.”
He added, “And so, you can appreciate how excited I am to be able to present you these titled documents to give you legal right to manipulate the soil and produce something out of it. So, I thank you for your confidence.”
Oshiomhole assured them of continuous support to ensure their success, “Whatever else you think we can do to encourage your businesses, we will be quite happy to do so, because that is the primary purpose of government. Be assured of our support, be assured of our readiness to do anything to promote your business. Looking around the country, I can’t think of any place that is safer than Edo State today. In the South-South region, we are clearly the safest.”
Responding on behalf of the agro-investors, Prof. John Ndanusa Akanyan of Dufil Prima Foods Plc thanked the government for the warm reception given investors in the state.
He said: “on behalf of all other investors in this sector, I thank you for this singular act of welcoming us to Edo State. Today is really a relief. So, on behalf of these people, what you have done today is a landmark in Nigeria. And I want other states to also copy it because apart from palm oil and cassava, there are other crops that we should grow in order to enable the transformation agenda that we are planning on to work properly. For all the investors, today is a new day in Edo State. If you want to make the state a hub of industries, agriculture is key.”
Speaking on the strategy behind the initiative, the Chairman of Edo State Economic Team, Mr. Godwin Obaseki said, “As part of the strategy to make sure that Edo State is one the leading economic centres in Nigeria, about five years ago, and as part of our development plans, we held an agro-business, we invited investors to showcase the agricultural opportunities in Edo State and lay out a framework on how we would attract investment. It involved the thinking through the crops that will do well in which part of the country, and the process of making land available in large bit for commercial farming, and all the other things that government needs to give.”
Obaseki continued, “So, today, we have signed up a total of about a hundred and fifty thousand hectares of land to about six investors whose activities range from cultivating crops like oil palm to rubber to cassava.”
The benefiting investors who received their certificates of occupancy are Dufil Prima Foods Plc, Obax Worldwide, Presco, Root Bio-Chemical, Integrated Produce Cereal, among others.