The positive disposition of the Godwin Obaseki-led administration in Edo State towards a private sector-led economy and the elimination of barriers to business through reforms, are pulling businesses from neighbouring Delta State.
Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa, Mr. Thomas Scheafer, speaking at the Edo Automotive Industry Investment Forum, with Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (right), and other members of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM), during the forum, held in Benin City.
According to manufacturers, the exodus of companies to Edo State from Delta State is happening on the back of the growing investor confidence, which in turn is a factor of the ease with which business owners are conducting their activities in Edo State, devoid of man-made encumbrances that impact their bottom line in Delta State.
Speaking at the 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Manufacturers Association (MAN), Edo/Delta Branch, with the theme: “The Nexus of Science, Technology and Industry,” the Chairman, Dr. Alofoje Unuigboje, decried the challenges manufacturers face in doing business in Delta State.
Unuigboje lamented that manufacturers in Delta State contend with infrastructural challenge and all manners of charges and fees collected on Delta roads by those he described as urchins.
According to him: “Ease of doing business has experienced considerable improvement in Edo, premised on the empirical evidence of free movement of goods on Edo State roads and the absence of innumerable urchins from industrial premises, who impose arbitrary and extortionate demands.”
He added: “The ready access of ministries and other government establishments up to summit, to Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has engendered a mutually rewarding partnership between Edo State Government and MAN. This cannot be said of Delta State from where companies have moved to Edo State.”
Unuigboje explained that the major consumer in any society is government and maintained that there is a sense in which government supports industries in its geographical zone, through patronage of local products.
“It makes good business sense as it is necessary internal dynamics that boost the economy of the state. Supporting local industries through patronage of local products is not a favour but a reflection of enlightened self-interest,” he stressed.
The National President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, lamented that the manufacturing sector was adversely affected by the recession which the country has exited.
He urged the federal and state governments to work in synergy to carry relevant stakeholders along in designing appropriate strategies to improve and stabilise the country’s economy.
The MAN president charged Delta and Edo states to intensify efforts at attracting more investment as both states still lag behind in industrial development.