Edo holds public-private dialogue to exploit AfCFTA opportunities

11 Oct 2022

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Caption: Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi, addressing participants during the Public Private Dialogue in Benin City.

To create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, the Edo State Government through the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and the Ease of Doing Business Secretariat has facilitated an engagement with the private sector to ease access to finance and market to leverage opportunities guaranteed with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Addressing participants at the public-private dialogue which was organized by ESIPO in partnership with the GIZ, the Managing Director Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Ease of Doing Business Secretariat, Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi noted that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has a priority to promote private sector investment and position investors for Africa domination.

“Why are we particular about access to the market? We are also preparing our state for the African Continental Free Trade Area. Trading has commenced in Ghana and Kenya already. The African Continental Free Trade Area has come to stay. So, as a state, we are concerned about the manufacturing sector. We want Edo State to be competitive so we can take Edo products to the international market,” he noted.

According to him, “To be very candid, if we must seek the growth of any economy, we must seek out the private sector. To move the economy forward, they have to lead the way. If we must ensure that the state’s economy is viable, we have no choice than to partner with the private sector. That is the overriding goal for Edo State. 

“If you have been following the news recently, you would be aware of Nigeria’s dwindling economic fortunes as a result of low earnings from the oil sector. Recently, the NNPC was made a limited liability company. That means, we are moving to a stage where we can no longer go to Abuja for federal allocation. We now need to start to work to earn revenue through taxes. We cannot earn tax revenue without private businesses.”

Mr. Uwaibi emphasized that the administration of Governor Obaseki is doing a lot to open up the state’s economy.

“Some of us may not appreciate what this administration is doing right now. But I can tell you, from 2, 3, 4,5 years from now, all of us will understand what is going on in the state,” he said.

In her speech, Edo State GIZ-SEDEN State Coordinator, Blessing Ajimoti, noted that GIZ is interested in supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in several areas including access to credits, access to training among others so as to improve the environment in which they operate.

According to her, “We want to make it easy to register businesses and help them get special licenses and meet regulatory standards that are necessary for them to access the market here in Nigeria and also the international market. And it’s very important that the environment these businesses are operating in are very enabling. And this is why we are working together in collaboration with the Edo State Investment Promotion Office, which is the Ease of Doing Business Secretariat.”