By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has disclosed that the state and the government of Japan are putting finishing touches to a partnership that will usher investment in infrastructure and human capital development, particularly vocational education, in the state.
The governor stated this after a meeting with the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Yutaka Kikuta, in Edo House, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
A press statement endorsed by the governor’s Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Crusoe Osagie said “the state government was pursuing a robust industrialisation plan to reposition the state as the leading investment destination in Nigeria, and as such needs all the support it can get from development agencies and governments of other countries.”
He added that Edo State is working assiduously to revamp vocational education to serve as the fulcrum of the industrialisation mandate in the state, and sought the support of the Japanese government in human capital development.
Explaining that the state government is rehabilitating the Benin Technical College, which is now known as Government Science and Technical College (GSTC), to reflect the realities of a modern, 21st-century technical school, he called on the Japanese government to join in the effort to bequeath in-demand skills to youths in the state.
According Governor Obaseki, “the state government has made good her promise to revamp technical education in the state, but needs the input of technical partners, who will strengthen the teaching and training curriculum at the school.”
He said the state is pursuing an aggressive industrialisation plan that includes the development of over 900-hectare Industrial Park, Benin River Port, Modular Refinery, among others, to boost industrial activity in the state.
Ambassador Kikuta said that “partnership will boost trade ties between the Japanese government and the state, promote knowledge transfer, economic diversification and improved competitiveness.”
Recall that the state government early last year sought partnership with the Japanese government on solid minerals exploration and agriculture, especially rice farming.
“Japan has a lot of experience in growing rice and since we have a large rice belt in the state, we have looked at how to cooperate with them,” the governor had said.
Japan has a long-standing trade relation with Nigeria that started in 1964.
Japan’s import from Nigeria from 2015 to 2017 stands at $2,830.8 million, $849,568 million and $785, 204 million, respectively; while export to Nigeria from 2015 to 2017 is $358,588 million, $326,147 million and $321,165 million, respectively.
The major trade items include Natural Gas, Sesame seeds, hot-rolled sheets, automobiles and synthetic hair.