Over ten key players in the organised private sector of Singapore as well as state-owned enterprises, on Friday met with the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, during his trip to Asia to bolster the state’s industrialisation drive.
The governor’s meeting with the expanded group of industrialists was an opportunity for the Edo State government to build strong ties with the leading companies in Asia operating from Singapore, and attract them to invest in the state’s manufacturing, agribusiness, digital services, food processing and urban development sectors.
The meeting was attended by the Singaporean Consul General to Nigeria, Haresh Aswani; Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria to Singapore, Zainab Tani Zakari-Awami, while the business community was led by the Vice Chairman of the country’s apex chamber of commerce, the Singapore Business Federation, Shabbir Hassanbhai.
Other Singaporean industry actors present at the meeting were Chief Sustainability Officer, Wilmar International Pte Ltd., Jeremy Goon; Senior Vice President- Retail, Aalst Chocolate Pte Ltd., Cheah Klu Lye; Chairman, Crop Protection-Commercial, Asiatic Agricultural Industries Pte Ltd., Chuan Chek Chee; Group Senior Managing Director, Business Development (Middle East and Africa), Hyflux Limited, Kum Mum Lock; Regional Business Development Manager, Surbana Jurong Consultancies Pte Ltd, Mohammed Ail Fateh, and Manager, Middle East &Africa, Informational Enterprise Singapore, Aaron Goh, among others.
In his presentation, Obaseki paraded the ongoing reform in technical education, with the revamping of Benin Technical College that will produce resourceful and technology-savvy workforce for industries; the ease of doing business in Edo State, driven by laws that guarantee security of investments and profit repatriation and hospitable people with age-old heritage of hosting investors and visitors.
He assured the Asian investors that Edo State was fast becoming a destination of choice for foreign investment as the All Progressives Congress-led government places high premium on the creation of 200, 000 jobs in the first instance, the religious adherence to the rule of law and the adoption of cost-efficient, technology-driven processes.
The governor told his visibly elated hosts that the proximity of Edo State to Lagos State, the largest market in Africa was an asset, and so also is her rich soil and climate, which guarantees rainfall for over ten months of the year.
He added that the state has “huge potential in agribusiness, as it is home to the biggest oil palm companies in Nigeria. The focus on diversified investments in agriculture, manufacturing, digital services and urban regeneration is an acknowledgement of the need to build a strong economy in Edo State, one that will have huge impact on the lives of the people through job creation and capacity building.”
Obaseki recently sealed arrangement for the Tolaram Group to invest $50 million in oil palm and cassava production to be used in the company’s manufacturing industries, an initiative that is expected to create about 50,000 jobs in Edo State.