From Fred Itua, Abuja
The economy of Edo State, has gotten a boost, with the ongoing construction of the Benin City Mall, which when completed will create thousands of jobs for the people.
One of the developers said a “visit to the site that will host the Benin City Mall on Sapele Road, will excite any Edo resident as the developers of the largest mall in South-south Nigeria expedite work on the gigantic buildings that will house a digital library that will be free to the public, children’s entertainment centers, lounges, bars, restaurants, cinema, wellness spa and shopping areas amongst other features.
“At the site, thousands of Edo youths (professionals) are working as masons, plumbers, surveyors, welders, carpenters, civil and electrical engineers, suppliers of sand, granite and other building materials and other players in the construction value chain as they rush to deliver the project come January 2023.”
The developers said some of the landlords housing some of the workers have started benefitting from the project through rents, just as food and sachet water vendors as well as transporters are making their gains from the new economy that the Benin City Mall is bequeathing to the State.
Post-construction, economic experts said the Benin City Mall will serve as a major source of direct and indirect employment; a source of significant capital investment to the State, a larger market for locally produced goods and a source of revenue to the government through taxation.
Interestingly, the mall is located right in the heart of Benin City and on the corridor of the Benin Cultural District, which will house the Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA) a world-class pavilion and other tourism assets being developed to showcase the prized Benin Cultural heritage to the world.
“The developers have assured that the vision of the State government to attract more investors into the State is yielding results as the completion of the Benin City Mall is non-negotiable and a promise that will be delivered,” a statement government official said.
In the fall of 2021, the Edo State Government while signing the contract with Persianas Nigeria Limited for the development and construction of a modern shopping mall in the heart of the State capital – Benin City, said the decision to embark on the laudable project was hinged on the Government’s desire to make shopping an exciting experience and bolster the local economy through a series of production and service-oriented activities that will feed the mall.
Governor Godwin Obaseki had said at the contract signing ceremony that “Our struggle to bring Shoprite or a major mall experience to Edo State has been on for more than a decade.
“There have been several attempts, and one of the promises I made during my electioneering campaigns was that before leaving office, I would ensure that Edo people enjoy the modern shopping experience as we find in developed cities of the world.
“We are bringing back industries and transactions of this nature to the State. We are stimulating investment into the State; and when the businesses are set up, the government will withdraw because it has no business in running businesses.”
The Benin Shopping Mall project, being the first of its kind in the State, promises a new outlook to the economic and entrepreneurial climate of Edo state. It will serve as a major catalyst for local production of goods and services in areas such as agriculture, services like tailoring, shoe making, fashion design, creative arts and production of pastries amongst others.
With a bigger market being set up in the mall, producers anticipate to scale up production to meet the expected increase in demand for goods and services.