IMO STATE HAS THE FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN NIGERIA
By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A
It certainly gives cause for feeling good and for celebration when the seed planted by a farmer germinates. It is more so when the seed begins bear fruits and good fruits for that matter.
Ndigbo say there’s nothing that’s as good as plucking pepper when the family returns from the farm. Also, our people say it’s so good when there are pieces of fish to download the food!
What all of the above point to is that it’s good to see evidence of the results of good efforts. There’s joy when there are returns on investments. Every business is founded with profit in mind.
Government is a public liability business that is operated with profit in mind. The profit manifests in good dividends of democracy!
In Imo State, Thursday, November 21, 2019 brought the good news that Imo State has been adjudged the State With the Fastest Growing Economy. That warranted the meritorious Award for Good Governance to the governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, KSC, FNIFST.
That has been counted as profit for the very well calculated investments made so far in rebuilding Imo State and revamping her economy by Gov. Ihedioha. Call it returns on investments and you will be very correct!
The occasion where Imo State and Imo governor were honoured with an award was the Annual States Competitiveness and Good Governance Awards organized by BusinessDay Media.
It was a big event which had in attendance Nigerian leaders, past and present, such as President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adeshina.
Also, present was Gen. Yakubu Gowon, former Head of State among many other very important personalities and dignitaries, including Gov. Ihedioha, who was represented by his Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Joseph Uchenna Uwaleke.
According BusinessDay Media, the programme was designed to celebrate accountability, judicious use of resources, foresightedness and ingenuity in public sector management.
And in all sincerity, Gov. Ihedioha has since his assumption of office placed on the front burner as a front line charge the holistic economic development of the State.
For Gov. Ihedioha, government is all about economy and economics of leadership. He’s profit-oriented and profitability conscious about government and governance. He has his leadership eyes on huge returns on investments by the State.
In his electioneering campaign manifesto and actual campaign promises, Gov. Ihedioha placed the economic development of Imo State part of his primary core values. That formed part of the hallmark of his cardinal programmes for the well-being of Imo people.
To that effect, the governor has reinvented and recreated the economic development template for Imo State. It all began with the creation of vital Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
They Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Ministry Technology Development, Ministry Commerce and Industry, Imo State Internal Revenue Service (IIRS), Bureau for Ease of Doing Business, Bureau for Diaspora Matters, Bureau of Statistics, Imo State Investment Promotion Agency (ISIPA), Imo State Power and Rural Electrification Agency (I-POREA) and such others that aid and enhance economic development.
Meanwhile, a massive construction and reconstruction of roads across the State is ongoing. The public water supply has been restored and will begin to flow in Owerri City and from there be extended to other parts of the State. These too will enhance economic growth and development of the State.
Within the period, Gov. Ihedioha successfully sourced sound intellectuals, technocrats and professionals for all the MDAs. These men and women have been committed to the growing of the economy in all ramifications.
The award by BusinessDay Media to the governor for his good governance capacity, which manifested in Imo State becoming the State with the fastest growing economy in the country, is one of the outcomes of the efforts of the governor and his team at revamping the Imo economy.
Earlier, in the month of October, the efforts at growing the Imo economy paid of when AfrExim Bank uploaded an investment project in Imo State, valued at $50 million (N18 billion).
As at the end of October, the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the IIRS reported that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Imo State was approaching the N1 billion mark.
This was recorded, applauded and commended as a great achievement because the opening balance of the IGR Account of the State as at May 29 which stood at a paltry N200 million. Yet, the economic team assure that with passing time the IGR regime will get much higher.
It’s instructive that Gov. Ihedioha with the impetus of Order 005 instituted the transparency and accountability best practices known as Treasury Single Account (TSA).
By doing that, the governor ended a voodoo financial transaction system in the State, which snuffed life out of the operation of over 250 bank accounts by the Government of Imo State under the watch of the immediate past ex-governor.
Only recently, the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus came visiting and promising wide range of bilateral economic development relationship and partnership.
Thereafter, the British High Commissioner also visited the governor and equally promised to work out ways of being of economic assistance to Imo State. In fact, she expressed her satisfaction with the observable progress of the State.
What the foregoing summary of the success story of the RebuildImo administration of Gov. Ihedioha is aimed at is to lend some insight into the reasons that enabled the decision by BusinessDay Media to present the meritorious Award for Good Governance to the governor for successfully transforming the economy of Imo into the fastest growing economy in Nigeria.
There’s no doubt that with the interest being shown by external bodies both in Nigeria and across the world in the economic development of Imo State, the era has dawned for meaningful investment – domestic and international by reputable investors – indigenous and foreign.
This development should excite every right thinking person, especially Imo people. It needs to be supported by Ndimo. Payment of taxes, rates, fees and levies become sine-qua-non to further expand and enhance the enabling environment for increased economic growth and development of the State.
The drive for foreign investors and investments should be kick-started by Ndimo investors and industrialists in diaspora. Fortunately and quite interestingly, there has been an increase in the number of Ndimo in diaspora inquiring about repatriating parts of their investments into Imo State. Apparently, the economy of Imo State is in for a great and better change in narrative. To God be the glory!
By the grace of God, Imo State is being rebuilt!