Friday, February 19, 2016 11:33 am
Towards employment generation in Edo state, a ceramics factory operated by a Chinese firm, Time Ceramics Limited, has employed 500 direct staff.
This is in addition to unspecified number of indirect jobs created by the firm located in Utesi Community in Benin City.
This was made known by the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Zhang Li Xin on Thursday on the occasion of the visit by the State Governorn Adams Oshiomhole to the premises of the factory.
Xin who spoke through an interpreter, Miss Zoe Lee, commended Governor Oshiomhole and Edo State Government for providing the enable environment for them to do business.
“We really appreciate what you have provided including the road. We are going to help the state to attract more Chinese investors here to do more businesses and invest here.
“This is our first time here in Nigeria to start a business and since we are foreigners, we may not know the culture and regulation of this area very well, and we hope that you will understand us. Give us some understanding and we will do our best to do better. We have the confidence here and with your protection, we will go far in this business here.
Responding, Governor Oshiomhole noted that the state government’s investment in road and other infrastructure in different parts of the state has started to yield the right dividends as different companies, including the Chinese factory, have started to locate their factories in the state.
The Governor said the surest way for government to address the issue of unemployment in the country is to provide the basic infrastructure which will in turn attract foreign investment, adding that the siting of an industry in a community attracts development to such community.
He said: “there are some people who do not understand modern governance; when we build roads, some people ask me, ‘why are you building roads to villages?’. It’s because they don’t understand. They think we should build roads only in the big cities. And I said, ‘No.’ We must build roads in villages to communities. Like the one you have mentioned here, the roads to Utesi, Egun, Azagba, Uwusan, Obagie to Uyimwendi, that long space connecting many communities. Like the General Manager of this company told me, this road is the major incentive they have because now it is easy to bring the raw materials they need to the factory and to carry their products to the market and of course, it is also easy for the staff and other visitors to come in and go out without problem.
“As we were driving in, people will not understand that this is a rural road, and that is the point I have been making that when government provides infrastructure, businesses will come there. If there is no access road, businesses cannot come in. So, I am happy that the road has already brought prosperity to the community and more people are now going to be living in Utesi.
“That will also create its own challenges as well because we have to build a school because if they are having about 400 to 500 workers now and they are going to have up to 2,000 workers over the next two years when the company would have become fully operational, those 2,000 will mean 2,000 families, each of them with a wife, a husband and children and those children need to have schools and the community need to have water.
“The company cannot provide you with everything because their core business is to produce ceramics. They can assist the community but they cannot take over the responsibility of government. The government has to provide you with school and I will direct the Commissioner of Education to liaise with you and identify a suitable place where we will start, first to build a primary school and then as we build the primary school and children get enrolled, we will build a secondary school so that children when they are done with the primary school don’t have to travel a distance to go to secondary school.
“That is how a community develops and before you know it, Utesi will become an industrial area with functional amenities. I know that the workers who are employed here are going to be paying taxes, so government will make money from those taxes by workers to also provide services.
“When you have 2,000 people working here, there would be, at least, another half a thousand that would be supplying materials, catering and other small refreshment industries that will spring up so that when the workers close, they can have a little bit of social life before driving down to Benin. So, we will do our best to ensure that Utesi community grows from strength to strength. We will look at the kind of borehole you have and we may need to do an industrial one that can distribute water to more homes.
“I think today’s visit is one of the things I said during my 7th anniversary, that government cannot create all the jobs. Government will create the environment that will bring in foreign investors like this company and when investors come, they create the jobs and they are permanent jobs, whether in government house, oil or no oil, the workers here will be paid because they are working for a private company, they are generating their own revenue from ceramics that they are producing but if they are civil servants employed by government, when oil money drops, then the workers don’t get paid.”
Also speaking, the Enogie of Utese community His Royal Highness Osazuwa Uhummwekpema expressed appreciation to Governor Oshiomhole for the road which cuts across several communities, including his community and appealed to the Governor to execute more projects in the community.