Given the trend in the global economy and recent developments in Nigeria, now is the second-best time to industrialize the country, having lost the chance to do so some decades ago, according to Vice President Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo who spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Benin Industrial Park today added that the establishment of the industrial park was in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to make Nigeria self-reliant.

According to him, “the best time to industrialize Nigeria was sometime in the last few decades. The second-best time is now. For that reason, we must not allow the political will and the enthusiasm that has led us to this ground-breaking to flag at any point over the course of the next four years.’’

He said the turnaround in the economy no excuse for complacency.

“This is the time to, more aggressively than ever before, push our reforms past the point of no return. It is the time to support and enable private enterprise to create the jobs and the prosperity we need.’’

While pledging the support and efforts of the Federal Government for the completion and operationalization of the park and similar projects across the country, Prof. Osinbajo said, “Nigerian will be competing with other countries for the more than 80 million jobs in light manufacturing that China is forecast to shed over the next ten years.’’

“Closely allied to this effort is the work we’re doing around physical infrastructure, especially transport connections and power.

“We’re upgrading and expanding the national electricity grid and the rail network, investing unprecedented sums of money in fixing our roads, and increasing capacity at our ports.

“Nigeria is also leading on a project that will open up a transport corridor between Lagos and Abidjan.

“These projects and initiatives are all inter-connected – more abundant power supply and more efficient transport connections will no doubt bring down the cost of the goods that will emerge from Industrial Parks like this one,’’ the Vice President added.

The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, the immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, captains of industry and other dignitaries attended the event. The establishment of the park is being coordinated by the Edo State government with the engagement of the private sector.