Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Governor Alex Otti has re-stated his resolve to transform the economy of Abia State, vowing that under his watch, the state will retain its lead and excel as the Small and Medium Enterprise, SME, hub of Nigeria.
Governor Otti stated this while addressing a delegation of Bank of Industry (BOI) Management, who paid him a business visit.
He said his overall target “is to make Abia a leading State with the ease of doing business across the country,” adding that his vision is to gainfully engage the people and reduce hardship, hunger and insecurity to the barest minimum.
The Governor, who described the proposals by the visiting bankers as being in tandem with his vision for the state, noted that “governance is all about the people, especially easing the burden off their shoulders.”
“We strongly believe that governance is about the people, and anything you do that does not affect the people in a positive way, no matter how highfalutin it may sound or look, will be a waste,” he said.
Governor Otti, while describing Abia people as industrious, said he was committed to creating a business friendly atmosphere to enable Abia entrepreneurs excel and compete favourably with their counterparts across the globe.
“So, for us, we have come here to ease the burden of our people, particularly the very industrious set of hard working people. We have come to provide an enabling environment for them to do their business,” he said.
He encouraged BOI to do more to encourage the growth of SMEs in the State and promised to support the management reopen the bank’s office in Aba, to serve the people better.
The State chief executive noted that in a bid to promote ease of doing business, his administration had made it a policy to issue Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) in the State within 30 days of application, as far as the necessary requirements had been fulfilled by the applicant.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director Corporate Services, Bank of industry Mr Usen Effiong said that the bank since inception had continued to work to attain the mandate of providing funds for the establishment and growth of SMEs and other businesses in Nigeria.
He also said that the bank is interested in collaborating with government to stimulate and grow the economy of the state by supporting the youths and all kinds of artisans who have huge clusters of businesses in Aba.
Speaking also, the BOI Divisional Head SMEs, Mrs Uche Nwuka, disclosed that the bank had two types of funding products it would like the state to consider for the benefit of its teeming business people.
The products, according to her are the Managed Fund and Matching Fund, which she said the state could leverage on to boost the SME in the state.
Governor Otti was joined in the meeting by some members of the State Executive Council among whom were the Commissioners for Trade, Commerce and Industry, Dr Chimezie Ukaegbu; and Budget and Planning, Mr Kingsley Anosike.