Godwin Obaseki, Edo state governor is intensifying efforts to increase investment inflow and improve the business environment in his state leveraging institutional reforms, technology adoption, security upgrade as well as the improvement and optimal utilization of lucrative sectors.
Obaseki revealed this during the investment and business opportunities’ forum organized by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) on Thursday in Lagos.
While giving his presentation, he said his administration saw a need to embark on some restructuring activities to reform the state and make it attractive starting with institutional reforms, because no matter how many policies are rolled out, nobody will be available to drive and implement the policies.
“The reason the country is not working as optimally as we would like it to is because the bureaucracy is broken, neither does it have proper procedures and system and we have not invested in it for years, this is the advantage many other countries have over us,” he said.
He added that making progress starts with the foundation because if it is faulty it has consequences and implications for opportunities.
“Crisis in Nigeria is not the shortage or lack of laws, it is getting the laws to work and training civil servants to help implement the laws,” he said.
Obaseki also said that the security infrastructure is another key factor, noting that Edo has had to upgrade its security and currently has a four-tier security architecture while involving more locals for efficiency and effectiveness.
“You cannot secure Nigeria from one point, we have invested in security and at every point in time we know what is going on in the state,” he said.
Beyond having physical infrastructure, Obaseki said digital infrastructure is also key, noting that Edo has invested heavily in this and has also partnered with private institutions such as Mainone to achieve a standard digital structure
Speaking of other lucrative sectors, he said manufacturing, agriculture, state assets & culture, sports, hold a lot of potential for economic growth if properly harnessed. He assured investors that the state is willing and able to provide the necessary tools, documentation, and resources to help investors.
“We need to partner and it is best to come in at an early stage, I will be very keen to work on food processing where there is money to be made and agriculture is a low-hanging fruit,” he said.
The governor said by the end of his tenure, he hopes to have made significant changes in the state such as moving Edo state’s rank from sixth to third in terms of GDP, and also improving the state’s internally generated revenue while reducing dependence on federal allocation from an 80:20 ratio to a 65:35 ratio, with 35 being federal government allocation.
In her address, Bisi Adeyemi, president of NBCC said the chamber is the foremost bilateral association and since its establishment has aimed to promote and increase trade and investment in Nigeria, an action which birthed discussions that revolve around showcasing investment and business opportunities in the country.
“Nigeria is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa, we believe that this is going to provide a good opportunity for people to identify opportunities for collaboration with Edo state,” she said.