Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Tuesday said his administration would support the Edo Exporters Cluster, a non-governmental organisation, to establish processing centres in the state for non-oil exportable products.
Obaseki gave the pledge when some members of the association paid him a courtesy visit in Benin on Tuesday.
The governor, who decried the high level of importation in the country, said that his administration would create an enabling environment for private investors to promote economic growth in the state.
He said that the current trend of importation was worrisome and should be discontinued in view of the drop in revenue from crude.
According to him, there is need to invest in the non-oil sector and promote processing of local products for export.
“When we said we were going to create 200,000 jobs, the jobs will not come from the government but from the private sector.
“We are investing in infrastructure development, especially in electricity and we plan to locate industrial parks where business clusters would thrive.
“Our goal is to be an enabler for businesses to thrive and not invest in business ventures,’’ Obaseki said.
The governor said that the state would make land available to the group to establish processing centres for products such as cassava and yam for export.
He commended the well-packaged products made by the group, assuring them that his administration was ready to help them grow their businesses.
Obaseki said an Edo Business Bureau would be established and situated close to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), to provide business information as well as fast track business transactions.
Earlier, the Edo Coordinator of the group, Ms Josephine Peters, said the visit was to solicit the government’s support in the promotion of export of non-oil products from the state.
Peters said the aim of the association, established by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council Benin zonal office in 2014, was to identify and encourage value addition to products from the non-oil sector in Edo for export purposes.
She listed the projects of the group as a creation of employment via ranching of native cattle, rearing of sheep, goats, and poultry and establishment of two processing centres in the state for processing of cassava and yam.
The highlight of the visit was the presentation of some of the products made by members of the cluster from raw materials in the state which included lubricants, rubber bands, Hand gloves, banana chips, cocoyam flour, cassava starch and soaps.