The Edo State Government, on Tuesday, entered an agreement with Persianas Nigeria Limited for the development and construction of a modern shopping centre in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, while addressing journalists after signing the partnership agreement for the Benin mall project, said the project is coming after twelve years of failed attempts.
Obaseki said the goal of his administration is to ensure that Benin City has all the features of a modern smart city while stimulating the economy.
According to him, “Our struggle to bring Shoprite or a major mall experience to Edo State has been on for more than a decade. There have been several attempts and one of the promises I made during my electioneering was that before leaving office, I was going to make Edo like modern cities in the world, making Edo people experience a retail shopping mall in the state.”
He explained that the project is a public-private partnership and when completed, the government would sell its shares to Edo people.
He noted: “We are very pleased and happy with our partners, Persianas. We thank the chairman, who built the first Shoprite in Nigeria. For our administration, it’s all about partnerships. This is what we call a classic public-private partnership between the government and the private sector.
“We don’t intend to keep any interest. Once the mall is built, the government intends to sell its own interests to Edo people who are interested in being part-owners. Our role is to ensure and enable transactions like this to take place in the state.”
He further stated: “We are bringing back industries and transactions of this nature to the state. We are stimulating investment into the state and when the businesses are set up, the government will withdraw because it has no business in running businesses.
“Edo has a unique location, fertile land and lots of mineral resources. We are repositioning the state to attract investors to take advantage of these opportunities; we are making sure our investment climate is friendly, attractive and supportive.”
Earlier, Chairman of Persianas Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tayo Amusan said, “We are excited to bring Shoprite to Edo State. We have the experience to do business in the state, as we have done JARA stores in conjunction with the Edo State Government.”
Amusan expressed satisfaction with the developmental strides of the Obaseki-led administration, commending the governor for prioritizing the welfare and livelihoods of Edo people.