By Franklin Ocheneyi
There is a strong indication that Edo State might soon emerge as Nigeria’s next emerging industrialised City like Lagos and Ogun State.
According to Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, there are more than 2,000 manufacturing companies in Lagos alone, while those in Ogun is estimated to have stripped this figure, thus making Ogun to have overtaken Lagos in industrialisation.
Industries in Edo
Currently, the State is home to BUA Group’s Obu Cement Plant and Edo Cement, all located at Okpella; there is also Presco Oil Palm, Okomu Oil Palm; Guinness Nigeria and Cocoa; and the soon to commence Dangote Group’s 6 million tonnes capacity new cement plant.
Since Governor Godwin Obaseki took over the helms of affairs in the state, he has been restless to put the State on the national map as a manufacturing hub.
Speaking during the Alaghodaro Investment Summit held recently in the state, Governor Obaseki, noted that with huge deposits of natural resources and a growing agricultural sector which could provide input for the manufacturing sector, Edo State is rightly positioned to become a manufacturing hub in the southern part of the country. “Effective government policies and reforms are required to attract huge investments into the state’s manufacturing sector, strengthen backward linkages within the sector and ensure the production of quality outputs in a competitive manner,” he said.
No sooner had the investment summit ended than Governor Obaseki embarked on the construction of an Industrial Park at Iyanomo community, Benin, State. The project is valued at N200 billion.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who performed the ground-breaking ceremony, congratulated Governor Obaseki for the huge investment, saying: “this is what the country has been waiting for to take it to greater heights.
“Several other countries have embarked on this line of industrialisation and succeeded. If we put in the same effort other countries have put in, we will also excel. “This strategy has been adopted in some Asian countries and they have achieved several economic growths, diversified their economy, and are now exporters of consumer goods,” said Osinbajo.
He assured the governor that the Federal Government would give the state the necessary support to ensure the completion of the project. Earlier, Obaseki had said that the park at Iyanomo would be the first in a series of parks his administration would establish to make Edo an industrial hub.
Again, just recently, the Governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), for the development of the Gelegele Seaport and other transport infrastructure in the state.
“Gelegele Seaport development will serve as the gateway for exporting manufactured goods from the Benin Industrial Park under construction and other manufacturing companies in the region,” he said.
In order to ensure that the emerging industries get raw materials to feed the plants, Governor Godwin Obaseki, expanded the portfolio of foreign investments in the state and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese consortium for the construction of a modular refinery in the state.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said that the refinery, with capacity for processing 5,000 barrels of crude oil daily, would be handled by Peiyang Chemical Equipment Company of China, Sinopec International Petroleum Service Corporation and a Nigerian company, African Infrastructure Partner.
The government stated that the first phase of the project would be ready in 12 months as all the necessary approvals have been granted by the regulatory authorities for the commencement of the project.
So, in view of the flurry of industrial projects that are ongoing in the state, all eyes are on Edo whether or not it will eventually emerge as one of the vibrant manufacturing hubs in the country, generating employments, revenues for the government and high returns on investment for the investors.