…offers guarantees, counterpart funding as incentives
Building on the gains of his administration’s
Obaseki said this during the presentation of the state’s 2019 Budget proposal before a session of the Edo State House of Assembly, in Benin City, the state capital.
According to the governor, “Our efforts at expanding the state’s economic base will receive a major boost this year as we plan to spend N7.007 billion on investment promotion, which will help bring to fruition a number of our investment initiatives.”
He explained that “Through this, we intend to provide guarantee for investments from the private sector, match funding for projects and provide the right environment for investors to come on board.”
Speaking on the status of the state’s big-ticket investments, which final investment decisions were sealed earlier in the year; Obaseki said, “Our big-ticket projects, including the Benin Industrial Park, the Benin River Port and Edo Modular Refinery Project, are well on course.
“Three billion naira (N3 billion) has been set aside as the contribution of the state as initial investment commitment for the Benin Industrial Park, the necessary preliminary works are ongoing and in no distant time, the first set of companies will set up shops to provide jobs and services in the state.”
He added that “one of the priority areas in the proposed 2019 capital expenditure framework is to strengthen internal capacity for project execution and governance with a view to achieving 80 per cent closure rate on all ongoing projects.”
He maintained that “Considering the nexus between investment and security, we will reinforce our security architecture with N2 billion which will be contributed to the State Security Trust Fund.
“We expect that well-meaning Edo citizens and corporate bodies will also contribute to this fund towards ensuring improved safety of lives and property within the state.”
On the achievements recorded by his administration in the outgoing year, Obaseki said, “In the last one year, we have seen rapid improvement in job creation, social inclusion, sports development, investment drive, institutional reforms, culture and tourism development, education, health care delivery, provision of social housing, infrastructural development and in the protection of life and property.”
On growth expectation in 2019, he projects: “Our expectation for growth in 2019 is an expansion of 2.5 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an improvement over the expected growth of 2.1 per cent in 2018. While crude oil price may decline, we hope that the increase in oil production to 2.3mb/d due to additional output from areas like the Egina field, will sustain growth in the oil sector.
“In the non-oil sector, we expect a sustained positive performance in manufacturing and services due to higher consumer spending (as higher government revenues which are ensuring the settlement of outstanding salary obligations across states and a new minimum wage, will boost household income). In agriculture, we expect a boost in 2019 as governments move to enhance stability and productivity in this sector.”