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Redefining Edo’s economic investment policies  

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[FILES] Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki PHOTO: Twitter

Sir: A short piece titled: ‘‘Edo can generate more than N2.8b revenue monthly’’ by Bob Majiri Oghene Etemiku might have gone unnoticed by many readers but some faulty conclusions made in the article make this response necessary.

First, Etemiku clearly does not understand that taxes are only a portion of the total Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) accruable to state governments. Apart from taxes, there are fees, charges, rates among others which people pay to the government for various public services.  So, if Governor Godwin Obaseki, in one breath says only 200,000 people in the state pay taxes and the Chairman of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), Nidu Inneh in another says that the state generated N2.8 billion in revenue in a particular month, both statements can be very correct because taxpayers only contributed a portion of the N2.8 billion that accrued to government during the period.

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In the second part of his piece, the writer made effort to advise Edo State on how to shore up its revenue and called for the revamp of companies like Bendel Breweries and Edo Line, stressing that their counterparts in Delta State were still thriving.  While the attempt to advise on ways to improve the revenue generation in Edo State is well-intentioned and appreciated, the concept of government excusing itself from directly investing in businesses and refraining from competing with private corporations and individuals is very well established both locally and globally.

Why should Edo State invest in Edo Line to compete with God Is Good Motors, a private transportation and logistics company out of Edo State which is probably one of the biggest of such businesses in the country?  Why should Edo State inject public funds, which is seriously needed to improve infrastructure to revamp Bendel Breweries, thereby competing with Guinness and Coca Cola, who have some of their largest plants in Edo State. For example, Edo State arguably has the most active real estate industry across the entire value chain in the Niger Delta region.

From cement manufacturing, to ceramic tiles production to glassmaking to steel production and roofing sheets production, there is a vast array of productive activities that leverages the state’s natural resources in creating critical inputs in the real estate and property development space.

There is no indication to suggest that the tourism industry and the hospitality industry are struggling.

Ikechukwu Onyewuchi, a journalist, wrote from Benin City.

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