Imo State Woos Investors With Economic Reforms
The Imo State government has declared its readiness for business with its commitment to reforms that are aimed at attracting investments into the state.
Speaking during a Webinar organized by the Imo Economic Summit Group on Tuesday, the Honourable Commissioneer for Finance and Coordinating Economy, Dr. Doris Anite, said the present administration in the state was determined to provide the enabling environment for businesses to grow in Imo.
The Webinar titled ‘Imo State: Enhancing Competitiveness as a Subnational’ had in attendance guest speakers including Patrick Okigbo and Leo Stan Ekeh among many others and provided an avenue to brainstorm on how to reposition the state.
In her review of the progress made since January 2020 when Governor Hope Uzodimma was sworn in, the Commissioner said the focus had been on reform that would strategically reposition the state as the economic hub of the South East.
On the effort to improve infrastructure in the state, she said the administration had completed twenty road projects and initiated two new ones; while talks were ongoing between the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company to improve electrification in the state.
She also said that the state was working with auditing giant, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), to develop a tax incentive to encourage corporates invest in specific projects such as education in exchange for tax credits from the Federal Government.
On Land reform, the commissioner also restated the administration’s commitment to reclaim and restore lands appropriated by former administrations to their rightful owners.
In addition, she said the administration was also working to revolutionise land administration by automating the process and a rigorous certification as well as recertification that would ultimately benefit Imolites.
The land administration reform, according to the commissioner, will enable property owners obtain titles that would enhance value and make the properties bankable.
On security, the commissioner said the establishment of a naval base in Oguta, home to seven major oil companies and an Army base in Orlu have helped to restore relative peace in the state.
On revenue generation, she said the state is working on its first economic development plan, which will provide the foundation for the repositioning of Imo as an economic hub in the South East.
Other aspects of the reform being carried out include the development of the agricultural sector, an Imo tech city and youth empowerment, all of which are geared at tapping into the young population of smart Imolites.
Also speaking during the webinar, the Chairman of Zinox Technologies, Leo Stan Ekeh, said there was an urgent need to invest in finishing schools to retrain young school leavers to make them employable.
In addition, he said there was need for a reorientation of civil servants to align with the new administration’s commitment to repositioning the state; pointing out that the state had in the past missed out on much-needed investment because of the negative mindset of government workers.