Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has pledged his readiness to partner with the Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC), to industrialise the 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, 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 the comparative advantages and key factor endowments in production and commerce, stressing that the partnership with BEDC as an electricity service provider would assist his administration to optimise job creation potential.
He said 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 realisation of these objectives.
Obaseki reiterated his resolve to achieve economic prosperity for Edo State by attracting private capital into all states owned enterprises and creating 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 partnership from the State Government on power improvement and in enumeration process.
Osibodu, who disclosed that about 50 per cent of energy supplied to customers in the State was not paid for, sought for the government’s assistance in the criminalisation of energy theft and fast-tracking the prosecution of offenders through the setting up of specialised 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 an average of 12 hours power availability daily, one of the highest in the country.
“There is however high level of energy theft in the state; over 50 per cent of energy is not paid for,” she added.Speaking on the YongXing Power Steel Company, Osibodu said the outfit enjoyed preference in terms of power supply because “we realise 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, which 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 added.