By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo yesterday performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the building of a N200 billion industrial park at Iyanomo in Ikpoba-Okah local government area of Edo State.
The Benin Industrial Park is expected to produce over 600,000 metric tonnes of industrial output and provide 170,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Performing the groundbreaking, Vice President Osibanjo said the park aligned perfectly with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for Nigeria as a country to produce what it consumes.
Osibanjo stated that the economic recovery and growth plan unveiled recently by President Buhari earmarked industrial parks and special economic zones as policy tools to generate growth and diversify the Nigerian economy.
He noted that industrial parks was also identified as a tool to help the federal government bridge the infrastructure gap, develop target sector, generate economy of scale and use it as testing ground for broader economic initiatives.
He disclosed that the federal government invested N1.3 trillion on infrastructure and capital projects in 2016 despite the 60 per cent drop in revenue.
The vice president noted that Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki shared the same vision as the Asian Tigers and China that used industrial parks and special economic zones to create jobs, generate tremendous revenue and diversify their economy within a single generation.
“This industrial journey that we are recommending is one that other countries have embarked on and thrived. If we stay the course, we will enjoy a similar kind of success. We have seen how China and the Asia Tigers used the resources with which they were blessed to develop export-oriented light manufacturing industry.
“That is the same vision that is shared by Obaseki. It is the vision of the Asian Tigers. It is the vision that enabled China to achieve its success. He (Obaseki) must be commended for the excellent way in which he has pursued this vision. We will be competing with these countries for more than 80 million jobs that China is forecasted to shed in the next 10 years. We must do everything to make sure these jobs make their way to the Benin Industrial parks and other economic zones that Nigeria will nurture in the years ahead,” he said.
In his remark, Governor Obaseki said the park was one of the many industrial parks his administration would build across the state in line with his promise to expand the economy for it to be productive.
He said the park would complement the effort of the federal government to diversify the Nigeria economy away from oil.