Benin Mall: Why big businesses are making Edo their new home under Governor Godwin Obaseki
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Benin Mall: Why big businesses are making Edo their new home under Governor Godwin Obaseki

By Ikponmwosa Osamede

Recent feelers of the coming of Benin Mall, which would house popular retail giant, Shoprite, and many other big businesses is fast solidifying Edo's place as the commercial hub and economic nerve center of South South Nigeria. Already, Edo prides itself as the transportation hub of Nigeria as it serves as gateway to all parts of the country. This feature was only waiting for a leader with deep economic foresight to translate it to an economic advantage - and with the new business friendly environment in Edo State, that is exactly what Governor Godwin Obaseki has done.

Benin Mall, apart from housing Shoprite, will accommodate a state of the art digital library, art gallery, spa, gymnasium, cinema, and restaurants, among others. Edo people look forward with enthusiasm to the exciting shopping experience the Mall will bring to the city. ShopRite's coming for many Edo people singles out Governor Godwin Obaseki as a 'less talk, more action' Governor because Shoprite's presence was previously promised Edo people in the previous administration but it never saw the light of day. 

Indeed, like dominoes, all it takes for good things to be put in motion is one touch - in this case, the Midas touch of an economic savant like Governor Godwin Obaseki. The ease of doing business in Edo engendered by the new land administration policy (driven by Edo Geographic Information Service) and an investment friendly posture by the government of Edo State in the last 7 years is seen by many as the force driving the influx of big brands and businesses into the State. 

Also important in the investment inflows is the reformed tax administration system in play in Edo State. For many businesses, the deciding factor on whether to invest or not is the tax administration system in force in an environment. Governor Godwin Obaseki, with vast experience in economics and investment knew this and that is why multiple taxation and shady tax practices were quickly and decisively stamped out in the state. This gave way for a transparent and digital tax governance system to be put in place. 

As a corollary, night life too is coming to Edo State powered by the streetlighting initiative of His Excellency. This initiative is strengthening commerce in the state as one not limited to diurnal variations. Many in Edo now reckon with the phrase 'Benin city is the city that doesn't sleep'. Another brainchild of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Ossiomo CCETC, is powering in a sustainable fashion the streetlights in Airport Road, Sapele Road, King Square, Oba Market Road, Akenzua Road, and many others. All of these initiatives lend credence to the fact that Governor Godwin Obaseki means business when it comes to attracting big business to Edo State.

Edo people are already counting the gains of the business friendly environment put in place by Governor Godwin Obaseki. Several chains of businesses like hotels, logistics companies, and hangout spots are rushing in to serve the needs of the population. Job opportunities so far created to feed the various segments of the supply chain ranges in the thousands. An uptick in the tourism potential and leisure activities in the state is also gathering momentum.

With the coming of the Benin Mall, Governor Godwin Obaseki has quietly fulfilled yet another campaign promise. Hear him: “There have been several attempts and one of the promises I made during my electioneering was that before leaving office, I was going to make Edo like modern cities in the world, making Edo people experience a retail shopping mall in the state.”

Benin Mall is coming to join other new comers like Reign Restaurant, Jara chain of Supermarkets, Domino's Pizza and Coldstone Creamery, Market Square and Kilimanjaro - all riding on the back of the business friendly environment put in place by the Governor. We say thank you Governor Godwin Obaseki for indeed Making Edo Great Again.

Ikponmwosa Osamede (Ik Osamede) is a multiple national award winning writer, and he writes from Benin City.

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