Edo to rank top 3 by GDP in Nigeria – Obaseki
The EDO2050 vision is to see Edo state ranking among the top three states by GDP in Nigeria, this was disclosed by Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, during a forum recently hosted by the Lagos Business School.
The session, which was aimed at engaging the public sector and advancing Nigeria’s long-term development, was themed ‘Edo: The Journey So Far and Opportunities for Private Sector Participation’.
Located in southern Nigeria, Edo state has a population of nearly 5 million people, a GDP of around 11.89 billion dollars, and a total land area of 19,187 square kilometres, with a per capita income of $3,623. Edo is well-known for primary agricultural products such as palm oil and rubber.
Poor policy, lack of planning, and lack of investment in public services, as well as a constant breakdown of law and order, with a high prevalence of human trafficking, were among the issues Obaseki faced when he assumed office as governor.
“Nigeria doesn’t work because its institution do not work,” Obaseki said.
He said with the Edo2050 vision, the state is to be one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing economies and one of the largest economies on the African continent and that in order to do so, it has embarked on an economic revolution focused on skills and jobs, investment promotion, agriculture, technology, and manufacturing.
Small-scale businesses, according to Obaseki, are being provided an enabling environment in terms of security and infrastructure, as well as the potential of locally skilled labour to drive growth in the state.
He named some of his achievements so far to include 208,318 beneficiaries in skill development and job creation in his five years in office, as well as training 13,958 teachers, rebuilding primary health care centres and aiming to produce 15,000 software engineers by 2025.
Obaseki noted that his administration has concentrated on growing tourism, and technology, utilizing the country’s available gas resources to drive the energy industry, attract investors, and construct various infrastructures to address diverse issues.
Frank Aigbogun, the publisher of BusinessDay, who also spoke at the session, gave accolades to the governor for his efforts to improve the state’s GDP, per capita growth, and agricultural land area, but also raised awareness about the state’s status in terms of electricity availability, which is one of the top three catalysts for industrialization.
In power generation, Obsakei said Edo has an independent electricity licence and part of the challenges of electricity is the centralization, generation, distribution and transmission of the power. “And even when you decentralize distribution, the investors can’t put through the capital to invest in the new technology to be able to reduce technical losses and the burden is passed to the government which has been a flight,” he said.
He also indicated that renewable energy would account for a significant portion of revenue in a few years and that it will need to be regulated, something the government is working on. Obaseki added that in the area of fighting corruption, he believes that using technology, disseminating information in the open, and being honest can help.