The Abia State government led by Dr Alex Otti, is taking steps to boost the poor ranking of the state in terms of ease of doing business and also make Abia business environment conducive for investors.
This was revealed by the Special Adviser to the governor on Ease of Doing Business, Lilian Ezinwa on Wednesday, during the kick off of a two-day round-table on ease of doing business in Abia State co-funded by the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Speaking at the seminar, Ezinwa revealed that the administration of Gov. Otti is determined to boost the ranking of the state after it got it’s best ranking in 2016. This she said the government plans to achieve through establishing two ease of doing business centres in Aba and Umuahia; create a Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Aba to help business owners easily register their businesses and also get access to grants; make it easy for diaspora to incorporate their businesses in the state without their physical presence and also create a consulting center in Aba to make it easy for manufacturers of made in Aba shoes and other products export their products.
She identified; poor infrastructure, poor integration of women and youth led businesses, no automation of business registration process, weak linkages between MDAs, time spent incorporating businesses, enforcing contracts and waiting for Certificate of Occupancy, as factors that contributes to poor ranking of ease of doing business, assuring that the present Abia State government is working to solve these challenges.
Speaking, also, governor Alex Otti, represented by his deputy, Engineer Emetu Ikechukwu, restated his commitment to restructure Aba, which is the commercial hub of the state and make the entire Abia secured to attract investors and create employment opportunities.
Addressing the participants, the Hon. Commissioner for trade and investment in the state, Dr Chimezie Ukaegbu, regretted that local and foreign investors have been discouraged from doing business in Abia state owing to the condition of the business environment for years. He noted however, that Abia state has seen remarkable development in business ranking under four months because governor Alex Otti recognizes the importance of creating an enabling environment for businesses to strive.
“the ease of doing business is a driver for development and growth in the state” he added.
In his own address, the Special Adviser to the governor on Internally Generated Revenue, Mr Isaac Okigbo noted that the government has created a one system method of payment – Abia state payment system of tax payment for traders and commercial motorists; adopted a single treasury account to put a stop to double taxation and over taxation all in a bid to ensure ease of doing business in the state.
Contributing during the question and answer session, Mr Nwaobilor Confidence, member of Leather Products Manufacturers Association, Abia State suggested that the government looks for ways to ensure that money are all not wasted on settling agencies while exporting made in Aba shoes.
” you spend money settling the police, customs while transporting these goods and nothing is remained to even pay the government” he said.
He also called on the government to ensure that the geometric power plants starts operation to ensure that electricity power are supplied adequately and ease business owners.
Mr Ken Anyanwu, member, Association of leather and industrialist of Nigeria (ALAIN) suggested that a committee be set up to look into the challenges of traders and also ensure that all products leaving Aba has codes to get the exact number of productions and sales made from the markets and determine the returns for the state government.
“We need to work out a modality and make it seem less for everyone” he added.