Edo Targets N10bn Investment from Local, Foreign Investors with Improved Electricity Supply
*Nominated best state in Nigeria power sector awards
*To lay fibre optic cables across 18 LGAs to boost digital drive
Peter Uzoho in Lagos and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin
The Edo State is projecting to attract additional N10 billion in domestic and foreign investment as a result of improved power supply in the state.
The state said it had already attracted N2 billion in investment, mostly in the agricultural sector, which was expected to create many multiplier effects, including enhancing food production, supply of raw materials to industries, and creating additional employment opportunities.
Senior Special Assistant to the Edo State Governor on Electricity, Mr. Osasumwen Arigbe-Osula, disclosed this while reacting to the latest nomination of the state as the Best State Government for the forthcoming Nigeria Power Sector Awards.
The premier power sector awards and cocktail is to taking place this Wednesday at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja.
Arigbe-Osula in a statement obtained by THISDAY, yesterday, said the Godwin Obaseki-led administration had taken bold steps to boost electricity in the state, citing the execution of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Osisioma Power and Infrastructure Company in 2017 for the provision of at least five megawatts power to the state.
He recalled that the state had also on March 9, 2018, applied to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for an Eligible Customer Licence, which the commission approved on November 4, 2018, and declared seven locations in Edo as Eligible Customers.
The governor’s aide, however, noted that the government had created the Ministry of Energy and Electricity in 2019, to execute the ‘Electrify Edo’ project.
According to him, the Edo government under Obaseki has achieved other numerous milestones in improving power supply and enhancing businesses in the state.
He explained, “Testing and certification of the Injection Substation at the Secretariat Complex, Sapele Road, and the 11KV network connecting EDSG offices by the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) were completed in July 2020.
“The first power to the Injection Substation at the Secretariat Complex, Sapele Road was achieved on 8th October 2020. Twenty-four hours of uninterrupted power supply is being provided to crucial EDSG facilities and utilities i.e., Government Administrative Buildings, Health Care Facilities, Water Works, Schools, Courthouses, etc as well as Ologbo, the host community of the Ossiomo power plant.
“A 200km Street-lighting programme covering the three Senatorial districts of Edo State commenced in April 2021. As of October 2022, 50km (40km in Benin and 10km in Auchi has been completed). An Edo State Electric Power Sector Reform Bill was developed and sent to the Edo State House of Assembly in March 2022.
“The Edo State Electric Power Sector Reform Bill was passed in September 2022 and it creates two statutory bodies – a Regulatory Commission to create a framework for a State Electricity Market and an Electrification Agency – to implement the State Electrification Fund in unserved and underserved areas.”
Meanwhile, in a bid to support the Benin Digital Drive of the government, Edo State Government over the weekend, announced plans to extend fibre optic to all the 18 local government areas of the state.
The Commissioner of Communication and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, who disclosed this at a press briefing, however, clarified that the state government would not be laying an independent fibre optic cable, but would ensure that all telecommunications companies operating in the state, “are encouraged to extend their fibre optic services to all the nook and cranny of the state, especially, the 18 local government headquarters and not within the Benin metropolis as we have now.”
The gesture, Nehikhare added, became necessary in view of the envisaged growth the state would experience as it continued with its plans of making the state industrial hubs, one that would compete with the digital innovation across the globe.
He said to ensure that the dream of building a new mega new city that would accommodate the industrial development that the various efforts of the government would bring about, the state government would not relent in its war against land grabbers and other undesirable elements working to frustrate the efforts of the government.
Nehikhare also hinted that the Edo State House of Assembly has passed the Edo State Physical Planning Urban and Regional Development Bill into Law, adding that the law, “repeals the Town and Country Planning Law, (Cap 165) Laws of Bendel State 1976. This is remarkable in that the repealed law has been in existence for over 46years and long overdue for a review.
“Also passed into Law is the Edo State Development and Building Control Agency 2022. This law is subject to the Physical Planning, Urban and Regional Development Law of 2022; and is enacted to execute policies on development control, planning permit and building control in the state, this is in addition to other functions enshrined in the Law.
“As an offshoot of this enactments, the Ministry in conjunction with the GIZ; organised a one-day Policy Mapping Training on the 17th of November, 2022; at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA) this is to prepare the Ministry for the Policy formulation that will follow the passing of the two laws,” Nehikhare stated.
On the New Town proposal, the commissioner said the Ministry of Physical Planning, Housing, Urban and Regional Development (MPPHU&RD), “organised one day Stakeholders engagement on the New Town acquisition with the members of the affected communities on the 8th of November, 2022.
“As an offshoot of that engagement the Hon Commissioner (MPPHU&RD) Promised members who were not captured during the 1st phase of the enumeration that another will hold in the preceding week.
“The enumeration is currently ongoing, it started on the 14th of November, 2022 and will conclude on the 18th of November, 2022.
“The impact of this enumeration is that members of those affected communities who weren’t captured previously now have an opportunity to be captured which also gives the State a broader view of those persons affected, which will inform the preparation for restitution.
“On the New Town Development Agency, sufficed to mention that on the 16th of November, 2022, the State signed the agreement with Siraj Nigeria Limited for the preparation of a detailed master plan of the “New Town” layout and the design of roads and infrastructure in ward 9 of the Ikpoba Okha local government area of the state.”