… manufacturing, food processing, agribusiness emerge as active sectors

The expansive reforms by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration have attracted a number of companies into Edo State which now enjoy pioneer status approval from the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

The details of the companies’ status were released by the NIPC in its Report on Pioneer Status Incentive Application for Third Quarter of 2023 covering July to September, 2023.

The NIPC said the release is in compliance “with the requirements of the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act Cap I7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Pioneer Status (Delegation of Certain Statutory Functions) Order of 2017.”

According to the commission, the companies in Edo State with active pioneer status include Okpella Cement Plc, which employs 570 staff and has invested N178 billion in its operations which span manufacturing of cement, limestone, and plaster in the Okpella axis of the State.

The other companies include: “Don Mac Limited, which has invested N8 billion in the State and employs 175 staff. It has an active license which spans three years, from 2021 to 2024. The company is involved in the manufacturing of gas cylinders, tanks, reservoirs and containers of metal.”

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Other companies in the State that are processing their applications include Saro Allied Resources and Processing Nigeria Limited, Duport Midstream Company, Greenhills Agricultural Products Limited, Dufil Prima Foods Plc and Flour Mills Nigeria Plc.

The featured companies are those that have invested in the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) and other off-takers in the agribusiness sector. Manufacturing companies such as Don Mac Limited put up a strong following with the volume of investment. This is just as cement manufacturing is captured with Okpella Cement Limited, operated by Dangote Group.

Lecturer and policy analyst at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Ikponmwosa Nosakhare said the development bodes well for the local economy, as it is evidence of the State’s dramatic shift from a civil service State to an industrial haven.

“The State has taken a turn for the better as the rise of manufacturing, food processing and agribusiness concerns means increased productivity and more jobs for the locals. It also means that the graduates from the universities in the State are more likely to find jobs locally. The labour requirements are quite specific so we expect that a lot of effort would go into supporting the higher institutions in the State.”

He added that though a form of investment incentive, the pioneer status policy is engineered to lead to growth and expansion in the local economy in the long run because the companies would boost local capacity and ultimately contribute to economic returns.