*Civil society groups throw weight behind 2023 Alaghodaro summit
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Edo State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sunora Foods, an Agro-based company that was expected to attract over $100 million Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into its oil palm business expansion.
The partnership is expected to boost trading in oil and vegetable oil to markets across the world.
Speaking shortly after the signing of the MoU between the state government and the firm at Government House in Benin City, over the weekend, the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said his administration was supportive of businesses and entrepreneurs and would continue to create enabling environment for them to thrive to achieve desire returns.
“We want to congratulate the management of Sunora Foods in the stage we have gotten to that has culminated in the signing of the MoU with our government.
“As a government we are very supportive of entrepreneurs who want to undertake meaningful investment in our state particularly in the agro-based businesses. This is not the first time we are supporting business groups that have affiliation with our state.
“I just want to implore you that you should be very diligent and also manage your expansion. We trust that with the history of your company and experience that you will manage the business and the opportunity.
“As a government, like i said earlier, we are very supporting of businesses and entrepreneurs. We will continue to create the enabling environment for your investment to thrive, safe and to obtain the level of returns that you expected to sustain the investment”, Obaseki added.
Earlier, the President/CEO, Sunora Foods, Charles Eghobamien, disclosed that Sunora foods was a 30 years old entity trading oil, vegetable oil to markets across the world including the USA, Canada and China.
He explained that one of the first initiatives was global expansion, “and having secured the financing for the expansion we had two markets. First was Indonesia and the other was Africa.
“As they say, charity begins at home and I said is going to be Edo State. And, that was particularly easy to make because of the investment and strives and the programmes the Governor had set in place.
“We are excited for this initiative because of what its brings. It is an investment, but investment is not just money but is improvement in livelihood in line with the dreams of the governor and in this administration.
“We are targeting 10,000 jobs minimum and we are also targeting over 15,000 indirect jobs. Apart from this, there are going to be other development in terms of innovations, technical expertise and also we intends to through our Corporate Social Responsibility to impact the communities where we are going to operate in.
“So, we are waiting for this opportunity and we look forward to a fruitful and successful partnership,” Eghobamien stated.
Later in an interview with journalists, Eghobamien said the programme Sunora Foods was targeting has five aspects.
“First, is 15,000 hectares of land which we intends to plant within the next five years. Second, is crush facilities for Soya beans and other Seed oil crops. Third, a 12 hundred tons per day edible oil refinery.
“Fourth, a bottling line and a 15,000 bottle per hour bottling lines. “Fifth, is an animal feeds processing facility. All of these lines will lead to 10,000 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs.
“We are going to invest in palm oil plantation to start with. The goal of selling of red palm oil and also refining through the refinery into vegetable oil.
“We are ready to start in January 2024 as soon as we get the land concession and begin planting,” he added.
Meanwhile, civil society organisations in Edo State have declared their endorsement of the 2023 Alaghodaro Summit, scheduled to take place in Benin City, between November 8 and 12, 2023.
They commended Obaseki for his administration’s investment-friendly reforms which have continued to drive economic growth and development in the State.
Speaking to journalists, the groups said Edo, under the leadership of Obaseki, had enjoyed transformative policies that have guaranteed a more conducive environment for businesses to thrive, attracted local and foreign investments, and improved the overall quality of life for Edo people.