Obaseki: We’ve Rebuilt Our Economy to Withstand Future Volatility

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, yesterday said his administration had in the last seven and a half years, undertaken bold reforms and programmes that restored the hope of the Edo people and laid a solid foundation for economic stability and growth in the state.

Obaseki, while speaking to journalists in Benin City, said when his government came into office, the state’s economy was in the doldrums, but reforms by his administration had rebooted the economy and fortified it against future volatility.

He said: “If you think about the journey, it has been fulfilling. When we came into office in 2016, the economy was in the doldrums.

“So, there was a need to rethink the economy and see how it can grow and bring prosperity, improve livelihoods, and secure a better life and future for our citizens.

“Also, there were serious social challenges. It was like a human catastrophe in Edo because if you recall, at a point in time, our people had lost hope, especially our young people; nobody wanted to stay back and start a life in the state.

“We were ranked number one in terms of human trafficking and irregular migration. A report we got from the International Office of Migration (IOM) in January 2017 revealed that we had about 30,000 young Edo boys and girls in Libya, trying to cross to Europe. I remember then, every wreck, every ship, and every vessel that moved from Tangier to Sicily or wherever always had our people.”

Obaseki noted that the first thing  he did was to restore hope from the perspective of building an economy that the people could benefit from and also restore hope by showing young people that home is good.

Outlining the gains of the reforms by his administration, Obaseki further stated: “Over the last seven years, what have we done? Let’s look at the numbers. Seven years ago, nobody wanted to stay, you barely had one flight coming to Benin. But today, we have about 10 flights a day.

“Seven years ago, the place was dark and dingy; infrastructure was not great. Today, the infrastructure has improved tremendously, from government infrastructure to all our public-user infrastructure.  From a situation where we were the centre for mass migration to one in which Edo is no longer on the list of top ten states where people migrate from.

“If anything, people are now migrating to Edo State. In terms of economic growth, from a position where we must have been about 10 or 11 in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ranking with about $11 billion then, today, we are in the top six and have about $25 billion in GDP.”

He added that in terms of investment inflow, Edo was seeing investment in  energy, agriculture, technology, and education, among others.

“So, overall, we are much better off today than we were eight years ago and the evidence is there to show,” he maintained.

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