The Edo State Government is targeting to grow the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in excess of N70 billion by 2024 and is leaving no stone unturned in the bid to actualise this target.

The state governor, Godwin Obaseki, told journalists in Benin City, the state capital, recently that the state’s monthly IGR collection has increased consistently since 2016 as a result of the conscious investments made by his administration in boosting the local economy.

Obaseki said the targeted IGR growth would come from leveraging the state’s comparative advantage and exploring opportunities in technology, culture, manufacturing, agriculture, and other sectors of the state’s economy.

“For the past seven years, we have focused on the economy, setting modalities on ground to create an economic revolution in Edo State. Our focus was to attract private investors to Edo to focus on areas where we have a competitive and comparative advantage. We said government will be made an enabler to stimulate and ignite business opportunities in Edo State,” Obaseki said.

“Since 2016, our monthly IGR collection has consistently increased as a result of the conscious investments made in boosting our local economy. Our partnerships and popular ‘MOUs’ have set Edo on the path of financial sustainability.

“Government is now working more efficiently and we are seeing the results of the hard work in terms of revenue increases. Between 2016 and 2023, we have achieved a lot in terms of IGR for the state, and next year, we anticipate that we will get IGR in excess of N70 billion,” he said.

Obaseki listed the Gelegele Seaport, Enterprise Park, among other projects that would further impact the state’s IGR in the years ahead.

“We have done a lot with cassava and ethanol as well as oil palm in the agricultural sector. We have worked hard with partners to open up the retail space in Edo State and hopefully, before the end of the year, we will be launching about 60 shops in the Benin Mall with different facilities.

“The future we see is a state with organized infrastructure to support the private sector production. We have done a lot with the Benin Enterprise Park as we are working on the one in Benin and have acquired land to build those in Edo Central and Edo North. We are hoping that the future is one where the government will work very closely with the private sector to drive the growth of Edo State’s economy,” he said.

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Just last week, the Edo State Government signed an International Management Agreement with the Radisson Hotel Group for the development of the 169-room Radisson Hotel Benin City, the Group’s 12th hotel in Nigeria and its debut in Benin City, projected to boost the growth of the hospitality and tourism sectors and foster economic growth and development in the state.

The hotel, scheduled to open within the next 12 months, will feature an array of Scandinavian-inspired accommodation ranging from contemporary standard rooms to expansive executive suites, including a presidential suite. Its gastronomic offering will include a lobby bar and café, an all-day dining restaurant as well as a pool bar and grill. It will also boast a gym and spa for guests’ harmonious stay.

In furtherance of his drive to attract foreign investments into the state, Governor Obaseki held an economic summit on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Global Chambers of Commerce and Associations Conference in Fuzhou, China, where he rallied investors to take advantage of the business-friendly environment and other incentives provided by his administration to invest in new frontiers and expand their businesses in the state.

The summit, which had over 180 foreign investors in attendance, saw the governor showcasing the impactful reforms and programmes implemented by his administration over the past seven years to attract and retain investments.
The reforms and programmes, the governor said, have impacted the civil and public service, education, healthcare, infrastructure, transport, agriculture, technology, and social welfare sectors of the state’s economy, placing the state as a frontier state for economic expansion.

“These initiatives encompass streamlining bureaucracy, implementing business-friendly policies, ensuring the availability of raw materials and energy, and fostering the development of the skilled workforce necessary for these enterprises,” he told the investors.

Edo State has made a quantum leap over the past seven years, growing 140 percent from an economy of $10.6 billion to $25.8bn, at a time Nigeria’s economy grew at 4 percent, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Alaghodaro Economic Summit Ltd/Gte, Asue Ighodalo, said at the 7th Alaghodaro Investment Summit in Benin City earlier this month.

“Edo State can become a first world economy regardless of the challenges of Nigeria. The new investments attracted from new investors is put at $4 billion sourced from Nigeria and from joint partnerships as the state has the capacity and will,” Ighodalo said at the summit themed “The Edo Story: Creating Shared Opportunities into the Future”.

“Edo State must set out at dawn to make progress and pull other parts of Nigeria and other regions up. We must continue to show in Edo that there is great hope for Nigeria through Edo State. The state can drag Nigeria out of its untapped potential, re-directing the nation to a point of development,” he said.