The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Friday, inspected the ongoing construction of a 3.6km road and an integrated agricultural project in Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the state.
The projects are being financed via tax credit granted to SaroAfrica Group of Companies, as part of efforts by the government to fast-track development across the state.
The governor, who expressed satisfaction with the progress of work, noted that tax credit is a new innovative project financing method to get the private sector to invest and enhance infrastructural development in the state.
Obaseki, however, reassured that his government will sustain reforms and programmes that guarantee the right political and security environment to support the influx of investors into the state.
On the integrated agricultural project, the governor said, “This project is very significant and important as it is a project where almost a 100 percent of raw materials needed are sourced locally and 100 percent of the outputs are feedstock to other companies and industries, particularly in the food and beverages sector, whether it's ethanol or carbon dioxide.”
He added, “This transaction is significant as it has introduced a new dimension in getting our private sector investors to invest in infrastructure in the state. Today, this 3.6km road is being constructed by Saro Africa from the tax credit which the company should have paid.”
Obaseki continued: “It's a very innovative finance method; the first to be used by a state government in Nigeria. The federal government does tax credit for big, large corporate organizations but here, we, as a state, have been able to attract an investor and used his tax credit to enhance infrastructural development in the state.
“We are lucky in the state because we have an investor and partner like Saro Africa who believes in Africa, Nigeria, and in our state. These projects were conceptualized about five years ago but construction could not commence until last year due to various challenges.”
Obaseki said the project is important because the raw materials to be used can be sourced locally and hundreds of people will be employed.
Chief Executive Officer of Saro Group of Companies, Mr. Rasheed Sarumi said the integrated agricultural project is a joint venture between Saroafrica and Mohinani Group under the Green Hills Agric Projects.
Hailing the government for creating a business-friendly environment, Sarumi noted that the factory will be commissioned in quarter one, 2023.
Mr. Sarumi said the project is valued at N24 billion.
"This is an integrated agricultural project. This factory needs 480 tonnes of cassava per day and there are about 5,000 hectares of land to grow. Already 1,500 have been grown; 350 people from neighboring communities will work here on the feedstock alone. The 480 tonnes per day will be converted to waste for feedstock for the piggery,” he added.