The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that his administration’s economic reform is focused on growing stronger local capacity to undertake the production of goods and delivery of services, on an unprecedented scale, as the state heads into an industrial era.

According to Obaseki, the administration’s high premium on economic diversification and transformation, empowerment, job creation and labour absorption, would ultimately translate to inclusive growth and a significant reduction in the number of people living in poverty.

The governor explained that with a strong industrial base, skills transfer is assured, to increase the range of domestically-manufactured goods, develop niche products through which Edo State can achieve a national, regional and global competitive advantage.

“This will increase the share of made-in-Edo products in the national and regional market; improve the sector’s productivity and value addition; promote and sustain indigenous technological practices and innovations,” he added.

Obaseki noted that the underlying philosophy of his strategy is to create a web of related economic development infra and superstructures as well as growth enhancers that would launch the state into an era of sustained industrial activities.

To illustrate, the governor said: “We have repositioned institutions like the Government Science and Technical College, formerly Benin Technical College and other institutions that will supply the skill set that will be needed in the Benin Industrial Park, the Benin River Port and at the modular refinery.

“The Benin Innovation Hub is providing in-demand skills, industry-relevant knowledge and unlocking the creativity and innovativeness in our youth.

“The feedbacks we have received from the innovation hub are heart-warming and Edo State is fast becoming the centre for highly sought after 21st century Information and Communication Technology-based skills and innovations.”

He assured that the strategies being adopted by the current government would address the age-old factors affecting Edo’s industrial sector such as “low value addition; inadequate market information resulting to limited market access and narrow production base and high cost of infrastructural services leading to un-competitiveness, inadequate skilled industrial human resource; limited access to affordable long term finance; high cost of industrial land; limited industrial subcontracting linkages; influx of counterfeit, dumping and substandard goods thereby reducing production capacities; limited technology transfer; and low attraction of local and foreign direct investment.

“The strategy he further said would exploit the strengths and opportunities arising from the regional integration and globalisation, and position the industrial sector to become the leading investment destination in Africa and take advantage of investment flows currently moving towards the ‘last frontier’.”