On the back of a favourable investment climate, Edo State is proving to be the new bride of investors in the retail business, with the growing number of businesses opening in the state.
The Edo State government has in the last few years advanced policies to attract investors, promising favourable policies and infrastructure to make the state an investors’ haven. This resulted in the setting up of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and support for the provision of investment-friendly infrastructure.
Findings reveal that not less than 30 standard-sized retail businesses have opened for business in Benin City since the last quarter of 2021, showing uptake in the sector and providing residents with a variety of options to choose from.
Some of the new players include Reign Restaurant and Arcade; Exquisite Plaza and Restaurant; Kilimanjaro, and Valz Foods, among others.
While some operate as restaurants serving local and continental dishes, others are entering the market to provide unique services, including games and arcade and outdoor dining, among others.
Analysts say the growing retail sector is a sign of rapid urbanisation, which is benefiting from the provision of infrastructure and social amenities to facilitate city living.
A staff of one of the outlets, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said her outlet is providing jobs to school leavers and graduates in the area and servicing clients.
She added that the provision of regular electricity supply has also reduced their running costs, which puts the business in better stead to attain profitability.
The state welcomed Domino Pizza and Cold Stone outlets in 2020 and JARA stores, which has now expanded to two stores in 2021.
An academic and finance expert, Nosakhare Ikponmwosa, said the entrance of the new outlets will formalise the retail food sector and result in more tax for the government.
According to him, “A lot is happening with the retail sector in Edo State. The new entrants are poised to provide jobs, thereby increasing economic activities. They will help in the collection of indirect taxes and also provide jobs for youths. It is indeed a welcome development.”