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Obaseki: We’re Partnering New BEDC Management to Improve Power Supply in Edo

Obaseki: We’re Partnering New BEDC Management to Improve Power Supply in Edo

•Seeks to partner India on technical education, manpower devt, technology, others

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration is working closely with the new management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to improve electricity supply across the state.

In a statement, Obaseki, said the state had the capacity to generate about 1,000 megawatts of electricity daily, expressing confidence that with the partnership with BEDC, Edo State would witness increased power supply by next year.

The governor said, “We are very optimistic that by this time next year, electricity supply would have improved across Edo State. We are very blessed in Edo State, as we have the capacity of generating about 1,000 megawatts of electricity every day in Edo State. We don’t need that amount of electricity to power every house and industry in the state.

“Edo State has the largest kilometers of fiber optic cable. It has 1,200km of fiber optic cable in the state. With electricity and fibers, people don’t need to leave their villages and come to Benin City to do businesses, as they will be able to grow the economy of our state wherever they are.

“We have made investment in poultry, oil palm, cassava and other agricultural products in the state to make Edo the agricultural hub of Nigeria.”

The governor also stated, “As a government, we are continuing to rebuild our infrastructure as the raining season was extraordinarily long this year. It still rained last week and is still raining in December, posing a problem and challenge and not letting us pick up the pace of construction and repair of roads destroyed by the rain.

“It’s better now and as a government, we have made enough and adequate provisions to make people move their goods and services across the state.

“Unfortunately, the federal government is not doing what we are doing in terms of ensuring motorable roads for citizens as we still have challenges with federal roads in Edo State.”

Meanwhile, Obaseki said his government was exploring investment opportunities with the Indian government to sustain gains recorded in boosting Technical Education and Vocational Training (TVET) as well as human capacity development, among others.

Obaseki said the government was finalising plans with the government of India to train more teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, boost the capacity of civil and public servants, and groom more youths on technical and vocational skills.

The governor said this when he received the Consul General of India, Mr. Chandramouli Kern, who led other top Indian government officials on a courtesy visit at Government House in Benin City.

He said, “We want to start with programmes that already exist so that we can quickly key into it and start our relationship from there. We are a subnational and we have seen opportunities in working with Indian sub-nationals.

“We are looking at seeing how we can get to some states or sub-nationals who have their own programmes because it is faster rather than wait for the federal government of India and the federal government of Nigeria to agree in terms of some bilateral arrangements before we can move ahead.

“One of the quickest challenges we have to industrialisation is that our education system, unlike India, has not emphasised technical training enough but still has the English prep school arrangement whereas many of the Asian countries have emphasized more technical training at the secondary level, giving kids a lot of options to use their hands.”

The governor told the Indian delegation, “We want to explore and talk with you to quickly bridge the gap in sourcing teachers to train students in technical subjects in our schools. We would like to seek specific opportunities in STEM and technical education, looking at the iLearn scheme which you have.

“Also, at the federal level, we would like to collaborate with you in the area of bureaucracy. India and Nigeria have the same Commonwealth tradition in terms of bureaucracy, but we know that India has undertaken a lot of transformation using technology in upscaling its bureaucracy and also providing services to its citizens.

“We have established our own public service training academy in Benin City and are seeking the opportunity to exchange ideas and have mutual training programmes, whether online or physical. We want to get instructors from India to explain how you have been able to overcome some of the challenges in public service transformation.”

Urging the country to leverage the business-friendly environment and other incentives provided by his administration, the governor stated, “Edo is, perhaps, the best located state in this country; a junction state with a lot of traffic around us-so we have markets. Also, all the major national assets traverse Edo State – road, electricity and gas networks, among others.

“Edo is the cradle of culture in, perhaps, West Africa and with the return of artefacts, we are creating a cultural district that when people visit, there is something for them to see and we expect to attract a lot of tourist interests. So, we would like to work with you.”

Earlier, the Indian Consul General, Mr. Chandramouli Kern, while commending the governor’s sustained investment in the state, noted that Edo State was taking a similar development roadmap like India, especially in the areas of education reforms, human capacity building, industrialisation, health insurance, and skills development.

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