Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has pledged his readiness to partner with Benin Electricity Distribution Plc. (BEDC) to industrialize Edo State and create jobs for its teeming unemployed youths.
The Governor made the pledge during a courtesy visit by the Board and Management of BEDC led by its Chairman, Mr. Victor Gbolade Osibodu and Managing Director/CEO, Mrs. Funke Osibodu in Benin at the weekend.
A statement from BEDC said Obaseki reaffirmed his government’s focus on leveraging on comparative advantages and key factor endowments in production and commerce, stressing that the partnership with BEDC as a service provider in the area of electricity would assist his administration optimize job creation potentials.
He stated that his government would develop an industrial hub which will focus on agro business value chain, and provide about 10,000 jobs for the unemployed youths of Edo , urging BEDC to key into the initiative through power supply synergy to facilitate the realization of this objectives.
Obaseki reiterated his resolve to achieve economic prosperity for Edo State by attracting private capital into all states owned enterprises and create 200,000 new jobs in four years saying that the role of BEDC in this regards as power provider was critical.
Earlier in her presentation during the visit, Managing Director/ CEO, BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu had solicited for partnership from Edo State government on power improvement and in enumeration process.
Mrs. Osibodu who disclosed that about 50 per cent of energy supplied to customers in Edo-State was not paid for, sought for the government’s assistance in the criminalization of energy theft and fast-tracking prosecution of offenders, through the set-up of specialized courts for power sector offences.
The BEDC CEO told Governor Obaseki that Edo State has the highest number of customers with pre-paid meters in the country and enjoys average of 12 hours power availability per day- one of the highest in the country.
“There are however high level of energy theft in the state – over 50 % of energy is not paid for” she added.
Speaking on the YongXing Power Steel Company, Mrs. Osibodu said the outfit enjoyed preference in terms of power supply because “we realize its importance to the economic growth and development of the state particularly in the area of job creation, despite protests and agitation from the public that BEDC is diverting power to the company”.
”During the last tariff review, we had also taken the above factors into consideration and seek to make its product competitive among its peers. We offered the lowest tariff to its customer categories compared to other DISCOS with the presence of major steel factories like Ikeja, Ibadan, “she stated.