The Federal Government has tasked states in the South-South region to close ranks and explore its human and natural resources, excluding crude oil, as it pledged to tackle the infrastructural challenges, hindering ease of doing business in the region.
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, said in Benin City, on Monday, at the Regional Stakeholder Forum on the Ease of Doing Business Reforms and Expected Impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
This is as the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, ratified the commencement of operations of JARA Mall in Benin City.
Speaking at the deal signing ceremony in Government House, between JARA Group and the Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA), Obaseki noted that his administration is in a hurry to ensure that world class businesses set up shops in the state to boost economic activities.
He charged representatives of the JARA Group to speed up the implementation of the deal and commence operations, assuring of the state government’s support for businesses located in the state.
Chief Executive Officer, JARA Group, William Snollaerts, said his team will kick off with one outlet as pilot, which will lead to several outlets in Benin City and other parts of the state.
“The initiative is to ensure that there is improved way of vending food products. JARA Mall is designed to employ 45 people per mall and we intend to set up a minimum of ten malls in the short term, with the first mall scheduled to open before the end of the year,” Snollaerts said.
At the South-South Stakeholder Forum on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Oduwole explained that the South-South region is a vast business corridor “connecting people and markets, with the potential to emancipate the country economically if the constituent states collaborate to explore their human and other resources, beyond crude oil.”
She assured that the federal government is working to address the challenges posed by power and other infrastructural facilities, in order to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as they are the engine that would stimulate Nigeria’s economy growth.
“We know the enterprising nature of men and women in the region and with markets such as Oba Market readily available to sell these products, it is an opportunity for MSMEs to thrive.”
Earlier, Obaseki, in his opening remark, said his administration is creating a friendly environment, where both domestic and foreign investors can thrive, and added that Edo is structured to grow local investment to support foreign investors and guarantee the place of SMEs.