Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State today laid the foundation stone for a N7.4 billion ($45 million) ultra-modern Shopping Mall in Benin City with an assurance that government will continue to create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive in the State.
Oshiomhole said government’s investment in infrastructure and the urban renewal programme is to make Edo State attractive to investors from within and outside the state.
He said “our investment in urban renewal and our investment in other infrastructure by way of road expansion and building new ones in both urban and rural areas, the provision of electricity, procurement of transformers, building health centres and all of the other things we have been doing is to make Edo State so attractive not only for the people here also to attract those who are not here.
“I like to recall that six years ago, during my campaign in 2007, anytime I was coming from Lagos to Benin, there was only one old aircraft with about fifteen or twenty passengers seat, house rent in Benin was very low, many houses were abandoned. This is to make the point that as we speak today, we have two or three airlines that now fly to Benin
“Edo people are moving in and out of Edo doing businesses. There is no better way to measure the progress of a community, a neighbourhood and a state. We have also witnessed the construction of several new hotels; you hardly find spaces in those hotels which means more people are coming to Benin to do businesses.
“Today we are witnessing the ground breaking ceremony of a facility that would be the very first modern shopping mall anywhere in Edo State under a group that has built a reputation for itself that is popularly known and referred to as Shoprite”, he said.
The Governor stated “I think for this community they readily understood that this is truly bringing development to this neighbourhood. In addition, as we speak, the company has employed and will employ more people to work on this site.
“Let me state for the records that this government recognizes we are here because you ask us to be here by your votes and that we hold our office at your pleasure and that our future is in your hands. To keep the privilege of being entrusted with the responsibility of managing this state, we must continue to ask God to guide us and guide our thoughts such that we will deliver the greatest good to the a good number of Edo people”, he said
He said: “Today God in his infinite powers has used us, your stewards, to attract to Edo State a company that has international reputation to build a shopping mall. We agreed to allocate this government land to them, demolish whatever is left of the building, so that in its place we will have a modern facility that both the rich and the poor can patronize.
“As a matter of necessesity, the company in their design must deal with the problem of flooding so that their property can be secured. If they do not deal with the problem of flooding, the facility would not be accessible and when they deal with problem of flooding, the entire neighbourhood will now benefit”, he said.
Oshiomhole assured the company “Edo State government will give you all the support you need and I will urge you to fast track the pace of construction so that I will have the opportunity of commissioning the shopping mall”.
In a remark the Commissioner of Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Hon Frank Evbuomwan said the coming of Shoprite and other international brands to Edo State is a clear endorsement of the far reaching urban renewal drive and initiatives of the Oshiomhole administration.
He said “several investors in different parts of the state are working hard to create industries, markets, housing estates, agricultural estates all of which is part of an integrated plan to develop the state and create well paying employment for our teeming youth”.
The spokesman for the company, Mr. Huarden Marshall said the choice of Edo State is as a result of the economic viability of the state and the need to create job opportunities for primary and secondary workers.
He said the project would gulp about $45million and the company would strive to meet its completion date of eighteen months.