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‘Edo supporting manufacturing, industrial sectors to reap AfCFTA’s gains’

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
21 September 2021   |   2:58 am
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, restated that his administration is supporting the manufacturing and industrial sectors to boost the state’s productivity

Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, restated that his administration is supporting the manufacturing and industrial sectors to boost the state’s productivity and reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

He disclosed this at the 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), in Asaba, Delta State.

Obaseki, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Wealth Creation, Employment and Cooperatives, Joel Edionwe, noted that the country’s economic environment had been unfair to the manufacturing sector, adding that more needed to be done to provide the right incentives in driving productivity.

On the initiatives of the Edo State Government to support businesses, he noted that his government established the Edo State Skills Development Agency to improve the skills of youths and create employable manpower in the state.

“We now have a number of skilled and semi-skilled persons that the industries can engage in the state. Other initiatives that will help manufacturers, processors and businessmen to survive and do business have been put in place.

“The Edo State Government knows that access to funding is a major challenge. That is why we are partnering with financial institutions, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) to make funds available,” he said.

“Edo State recently initiated another partnership with the BOI. We launched an N2 billion fund to cater for about 50,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs and the government has promised that in the next one year, it will increase the funds to N10 billion to make finances available to more producers,” he stated.

On his part, Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Kelvin Uwaibi, noted that the non-oil sector should be strategically positioned to drive economic growth, adding that the manufacturing sector could revamp the economy with the opportunities provided by AfCFTA.

Chairman of Edo/Delta chapter of MAN, Dr. Okwara Udensi, and other speakers commended the Edo State government for the initiatives aimed at improving the investment space, especially in the taxation system, the Enterprise Park, the Benin River Port and Edo Inland Dry Port, among others.