Oshiomhole And The Chinese Invasion Of Edo | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Opinion

Oshiomhole And The Chinese Invasion Of Edo

Posted: Mar 4, 2016 at 6:22 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nasamu Jacobson, Benin

The major function of government, especially in a democracy, is to provide for the welfare of the citizens, if not all but the majority. This, the government can do through the provision of basic necessities like shelter, food, education, water, light, security, employment and roads. Often, government finds itself unable to adequately meet the high demand for its attention in the provision of these basic needs mainly due to insufficiency of available funds. This state of affair has necessitated the development and articulation of alternative sources of revenues to augment the dwindling oil revenue.

Notwithstanding the pressure the paucity of funds has had on governance, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has displayed uncommon but commendable ingenuity in the management of lean state resources to create happiness for the greatest number of Edo people. From roads and electricity to health and education, from water and sanitation to urban renewal and beautification, from human capital development to commerce and industry, Comrade Oshiomhole has worked hard to transform Edo from the state of decay he met in 2008 to one that works. There is no doubt that most citizens of the state, critics and political opponents alike, are impressed with the high level of infrastructural development achieved by the Oshiomhole administration in the last seven years. The red roof revolution, the new 200-bed central hospital, the storm water master plan and erosion control projects, the construction and reconstruction of roads across the state all represent legacies the present administration will bequeath to the state when it leaves office later this year.

 

One area in which Oshiomhole has distinguished himself as a veritable gift to Edo is his drive to industrialise the state. At the start of his administration, he made it abundantly clear that he did not believe in government setting up industries which are usually run as parastatals of State ministries with attendant bureaucratic encumbrances.

Bendel Breweries was sold to Churchgate Group between 1992 and 1993 when Chief John Odigie Oyegun was governor of the state. Non implementation of the sale agreement to the letter led to disagreement between the government and Churchgate Group which resulted in subsisting litigation yet unresolved. Three other industries established by the previous administration but which never worked are the cassava processing factory at Uromi, the fruit juice factory at Ehor and the fertilizer blending plant at Auchi. All these never worked as they were designed and established not to work. The Okpella cement company is the only industrial concern which was working, and is still working at the inception of the Oshiomhole administration.  The reason is because it had been sold to BUA Group, a private investor.

 

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s industrialisation drive, anchored on his belief that government must leave business for businessmen, is yielding bountiful results with the establishment and take off of companies owned by Chinese investors in Benin City. These are Yongxing Steel Company Limited located in Ogua Community and Time Ceramics Nigeria Limited in Utesi Community. There is also a bamboo wood furniture company at Anegbette in Etsako Central Local Government Area. More Chinese investors are expected to establish businesses in the state in the near future. The present influx of foreign investors in Edo can rightly be described as an invasion.  This is happening because Comrade Oshiomhole has provided a favourable investment climate in the state.

 

Besides employing a work force of more than 1500 persons, these companies have also contributed to the development and expansion of their host communities through the due discharge of their corporate social responsibility. This is in accord with Oshiomhole’s belief that the surest way for government to address the issue of unemployment in the country is to provide the basic infrastructure which should in turn attract foreign investment.

While visiting these companies recently, Oshiomhole restated the obvious when he noted that “this road is the major incentive they have because now it is easy to bring the raw materials they need to the factory and to carry their finished products to the market, and of course, it is also easy for the staff and other visitors to come in and go out without problems”. According to Oshiomhole, “government cannot create all the jobs. Government will create the environment that will bring in foreign investors, and when investors come in, they will create the jobs”.

 

The Yongxing Steel Company commenced production in July 2013, one year after incorporation, to manufacture steel products. The strategic intent of the company is to be the leading steel manufacturer in the country.