The Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, is scheduled to accompany President Muhammadu Buhari on an investment tour in China. This follows the federal government’s listing of several Edo State government’s projects which are backed by Chinese investors, on its itinerary.
The Chinese investors-backed big ticked projects in the state include the Benin River Port in Gelegele, the Benin Industrial Park and a modular refinery in Benin City, for which the Edo State Executive Council has approved N700 million as initial investment.
Sources familiar with the progress of the Edo-China investment collaboration, said “all these projects which Chinese investors have committed to, will receive final nod during the visit of resident Buhari.”
Governor Obaseki was at the Chinese Embassy during the week for more consultations with officials of the People’s Republic of China, preparatory to the Buhari-led investment tour of the Asian country.
To further demonstrate the state government’s readiness to kick-start work on the modular refinery in Benin City, Obaseki on Friday, at the weekly EXCO meeting, approved the release of N700 million as redeemable preference shares (investment) in the Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited.
According to Obaseki, “the company will be involved in the production of petroleum and petrochemical products and other related businesses.
“The venture will enhance the local refining capacity, thereby increasing the volume of nahtha, kerosene, diesel and residual fuel oil products available in Edo State.”
He added that the venture “will create legitimate employment opportunities thereby reducing poverty and providing job opportunities for teeming youths in the communities and facilitate the establishment of a fabrication yard as proposed by the promoters, thereby creating basis for expertise, professionalism and further training in the oil and gas industry.”
The take-off of the Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company follows series of groundwork by the Obaseki administration that led to the setting up of Edo Investment Scheme Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to hold N2 billion investment funds in which the Ministry of Finance Incorporation (MOFI) and the Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) which are to hold shares of 20 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, would facilitate the state’s investment in various initiatives across the oil and gas services, petroleum exploration, drilling and filling station, sales and supply of gas, oil agro allied products, petroleum and petrochemical products and other related businesses.
In the transaction design, the investment funds will be repaid in three years after the execution of the projects, besides the interest that will accrue to the state within the interim. The project will, in essence fund itself.
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