The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has pledged support to the growth of made-in-Edo goods in a new move to encourage local production.
Obaseki stressed that the growth of the local economy is a cardinal plan of his industrialization drive, which has informed his policy decisions and programmes in the last five years.
The governor, who was represented by the Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi at the launch of a made-in-Edo beverage, Joe No Cocoa Tea, expressed readiness to support food processors in the state to achieve profitability in their businesses.
He said, “Local processing will bring more return on investment than selling raw materials. Nigerians have been too dependent on crude oil. It is time to look beyond oil and get our hands dirty in the non-oil sector.”
According to him, “Nigeria is the third-largest producer of cocoa in Africa and Edo State is among the fifth. This product, Joe No Cocoa Tea, is a product of value addition. It is important to know that processing brings more returns than just selling the cocoa. For those who have made-in-Edo products, be assured that we are ready to support you so that you can make more profits.
“With the impact of COVID-19, a lot of movement has been restricted around the world. But with the digital economy, you can sell online. That is why we are also thinking in that direction for businesses in Edo. We want to see made-in-Edo products everywhere around the world.”
The governor encouraged small and medium business owners to take advantage of the Bank of Industry opportunities for funding, adding that the state recently signed a N2bn MSMEs fund with the bank.
Obaseki said: “For us as a government, we want to see businesses in Edo thrive. We want to be able to support businesses in the state. As you know, Edo is becoming a retail hub for supermarkets and super malls: Hallmark, Market Square, JARA stores are all in Edo; many more are coming. The N2bn MSMEs funds recently signed by the state government are to ameliorate the challenge of funding being faced by businesses.”
On his part, Director, Irabor and Sons Nigeria Limited, Dr. Chris Osazuwa, said the company produced the new beverage as part of the process of contributing to a virile local economy, while appreciating the state government for creating the enabling environment for businesses to operate.