Given its geographical location, natural endowments, dedication and commitment to drive private-sector investments, Edo State has described as Nigeria’s best secret in driving growth and development in a post-oil economy.
The Chairman, Edo Investment Summit, Asue Ighodalo, who is also the Chairman, Sterling Bank Plc, made the declaration at the maiden edition of the Edo Investment Summit, in Benin, the state capital, which attracted other captains of industry from the public and private sectors.
He said the south-south state had the capacity to create massive employment and become a sub-national economic hub.
Ighodalo, in his address at the summit, said: “The Edo State Government has convened this gathering of global, national and state leaders from the government, business and civil society to unveil and showcase Nigeria’s best kept secret; and Nigeria’s best kept secret is Edo State. And to reset the vision of the state in a post-oil economy, a vision of prosperous, productive and peaceful Edo State that rises to its full economic potential, as a vibrant engine of growth within the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In conceptualising our agenda for the summit, Edo State has engaged in a deep and rigorous assessment of factors and drivers of its future, which we will over the next few days deliberate on and then we will all together agree on the focus strategies and actions that will make Edo State the investors’ preferred choice.
“Our goal at this investment summit is simple. We will identify the factor endowments that give Edo the competitive and comparative advantage. We will explore and examine what we must do to create the factor conditions to maximise these endowments and we will commit to the actions that make Edo State the most competitive sub-national investment environment in Nigeria.”
Besides, he said the report and recommendations from the summit, tagged: Alaghodaro 2017, with the theme, “Envisioning the Future,” would provide a framework for the Edo strategic action plan, going forward.
He noted that a lot of work had already been done in conceptualising and providing structures and appropriate incentives, which had led to the increase in investments and interest in the state.
Ighodalo, however, stressed that there was still “so much work to be done” based on the state’s current economic rankings.
These, he said, included being ranked 16th out of the 36 states on budget size, eighth for solid mineral production, 19th for domestic debt profile, third among the 36 states on external debt profile and fifth for internal revenue generation.
Ighodalo added, “These rankings are now in our past. We are going forward and we are looking forward. We will strive to attain global best-in-class in socio-economic development rankings and ratios.
“So, as we look into the future, we in Edo State do so conscious that what has brought us thus far is not enough to take us into the future. So collectively, we shall uplift our gain.”