The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the development of the Benin River Port will guarantee the diversification of the nation’s economy from oil into the non-oil sector such as agriculture and agro-allied businesses, placing the country on the path to sustainable economic growth.
Obaseki, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Benin City, said the project will facilitate the export of agricultural produce thereby boosting export earnings and stimulating economic growth and development.
He said the port, upon completion, will decongest traffic in Lagos port and facilitate the distribution of goods produced in Edo to other parts of the country.
The governor, who condemned the country’s over dependence on oil, urged for increased investment in agriculture to achieve food security, create jobs and improve the livelihoods of citizens.
He said, “The reason why we are building the Benin River Port is because of its huge economic benefits to Edo and Nigeria. The port will become the closest port to the heart of the country, so that we will be able to act as a sponge to get whatever we are producing here across other parts of the country.”
Noting that his government is investing in palm oil production to drive its economy, Obaseki added, “We cannot continue to depend on crude oil. Our over-reliance on oil has not increased our global competitiveness. We must intensify efforts to diversify the economy away from oil.
“Last week, Indonesia and Malaysia banned the export of oil palm. Specifically, for us in Edo, agriculture is key because food production is our priority. First, let's feed ourselves and the extra we have, we will use it to trade.”
"For palm oil, by the time we finish with the ground treatment and the allocation in Ovia Local Government Areas of the state, we will have maxed out as a state. At that point, we would have about 200,000 hectares under cultivation,” he noted.