Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said that the state holds the greatest potential to become the nation’s business hub, reassuring that his government will sustain reforms and policies to ensure an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Obaseki, who spoke while giving a keynote address at the policy audit report validation workshop, held at the Government House in Benin City, said his administration will continue to pursue all programmes and policies to guarantee better life for Edo people.
The programme themed, “Policy Audit Report on the legal and regulatory frameworks for business enabling environment, employment and MSMEs development in Edo State”, was hosted by the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), in partnership with the German GIZ.
According to the governor, “Edo holds one of the greatest potentials of a business hub in this country. What is required to realize that potential is to organise government in a way to focus on the people.
“Realizing that majority of the people in Edo State, like in many other States in Nigeria, are micro and small business owners, the role of government should be to support them by creating an enabling environment for their businesses to thrive.”
Obaseki thanked the German Government for the support given to Edo State Government through the GIZ, which is helping the administration in its genuine effort to turn around the business environment in the state to bring more prosperity to Edo people.
He added: “Government is an enabler, which means that it is expected to create an enabling environment for people to do their businesses. To do this, the key function is to create the regulatory framework that guides people in what they do.
“As part of our reforms to support small businesses, we introduced working with the judiciary to have a Small Claims Court to address conflicts that arise in the course of conducting businesses. You can make your claims without getting a lawyer to defend you.”
He continued: “We have to make Edo attractive for small businesses and business owners who may not have the strength to protect themselves and their businesses. In Edo State, we would continue to emphasize those things that small businesses need to thrive such as good road network and Small Claims Court, among others. We have simplified the processes of obtaining a titled document to their properties which may later serve as collateral to obtain credits from banks.
“Government’s role is not to do business but to encourage those from the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities, understanding the value chain. We will continue to support the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) to enable them to collaborate and support small businesses and the private sector.”
On his part, Head of Programme at GIZ, Markus Wauschkuhn, noted: “We are working with Edo State Government to support micro small and medium enterprises to generate employment for Edo people.”
Head of ESIPO, Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi said: “As a state, we are collaborating more as a state with GIZ, ensuring that the businesses in the State grow and develop. The governor is ensuring that we have a peaceful and enabling environment in the State to allow businesses to grow and we are leveraging on this to drive enterprise and commerce.”
Representative of the Private Sector, Dr. Emmanuel Asemota, who commended the peaceful business atmosphere in the State, said the private sector has continued to enjoy good relationships and co-oporations with the Edo State Government.