Tourism: Edo losing revenue due to lack of infrastructure
Edo Government said it lost millions of dollars in revenue in the tourism sector because of previous governments’ neglect of infrastructure in Benin.
Dr Godwin Obaseki, the Chairman of the state Economic and Strategic Team, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Tuesday in Benin.
Obaseki, a economist, said failure of previous governments to provide the needed basic infrastructure stifled the growth of the tourism sector.
“Benin, an ancient city should be a tourism haven. But if I can’t provide security and good roads, of course, the place will be unlivable.
“Investors don’t just jump at you as there are lots of opportunities all over the world.
“It is you who should make the environment attractive by creating the enabling environment through provision of infrastructure to attract investors that will in turn drive the tourism sector in the state,” he said.
Obaseki said that the tourism industry would have become attractive to investors If previous governments had built rural roads and other infrastructure.
The chairman said though the state might have lost millions of dollars because of these factors, government had been working hard to correct the errors in the last seven years.
“Work is in progress and there is still a lot to be done.
“But still, I know that we are now in a trajectory position because those critical investments have to be done before you can now start talking about attracting investments.
“But I can also assure you that very quickly we have been able to attract some types of investments given the competitive advantage,” he said.
According to Obaseki, Edo has the largest onshore gas deposit across the whole of Oredo fields where NPDC is currently exploring for gas.
“ We also have the advantage that the major gas plant 1 and 2 Escravos pass through Edo.
“We have the fortune that the electricity distribution network of national grid passes through Edo.
He said that as a distribution hub, the state would tap on its potential to have an input to generate and facility to evacuate electricity.
“So, with that sort of investment, we have been able to attract some investors to the state because of the quality of governance Gov. Adams Oshiomhole has provided.
Obaseki also said that a 450 megawatts plant known as Edo Azura was under construction by one of its partners.
“We also have four other of such applications being considered at this point in time.
“ The plant, which is the first major Public Private Partnership (PPP) electricity generating transaction in Nigeria in the last several years, is expected to be expanded to 900 megawatts.
“It’s also the first that has the World Bank partial guarantee under the Federal Government’s power reform that has taken off and is one of the front line projects financed in Africa’’.
Obaseki said government had attracted several projects to the state without paying money.
“But we gave them land, helped them with the EIA and created the enabling environment for them to set up because that is what the PPP is all about,’’ he said.
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