• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Abia to support MSMEs to grow economy


Abia State government has reiterated its commitment towards supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state, especially those in Aba, its commercial hub, to grow the state’s economy.

Henry Ikoh, commissioner for industry, Abia State, who made this commitment at a stakeholders meeting held at the state secretariat, Umuhia, described MSMEs as engine of growth of any economy and promised that the state government would provide enabling environment for them to operate.

The state government is working towards harmonising taxes and levies payable in the state, which according to him, will eliminate multiple taxation and touting in Abia and especially Aba, and urged entrepreneurs to support government by paying approved taxes and levies to enable it provide infrastructure and other services for the public.

The stakeholders drawn from all trade associations in the state, include Aba and Umuahia Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), listed some of their challenges to include, multiple taxation, touting and lack of infrastructure, especially road and power.

The commissioner told BusinessDay after the meeting that the state was committed towards the realisation of the proposed industrial cluster for the leather and garment sectors at Umukalika and other industrial clusters at Umuahia and Ohafia.

According to him, the industrial clusters, especially the Umukalika industrial cluster, will work. We are very serious and committed people. We have decided to bring excellence to today’s government.

“The way things were run in the past will not be so again, rather we are bringing succour to the people of Abia State. We sincerely want to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, by creating middle class, by putting food on everybody’s table, by making sure we engage them meaningfully to be productive, because if they are productive, they will pay their taxes and government will be happy and will do more for them, in particular Umukalika will work,” he said.

The forum, according to the commissioner, is organised to bring small and medium scale industrialists in Abia State together and to seek how government can be of immense benefit to them, because they are the engine room of every economy, more so now that price of oil has crashed, the only way government can survive is through agriculture and industries.

“As a man that is in charge of industry and technology, I have summoned everybody to know how government can assist them as well as how they can assist government to create employment and improve internally generated revenue.

“You can see that Aba is a hub of industries in this area. There are so many of them in Aba, but they are not coming forward to identify with government, because of the fear of the unknown, ranging from double taxation and lack of funding.

“I have called them to erase those doubts in them and they were very happy, because as an industrialist they are so happy that the government has deemed it fit to appoint an industrialist to head the ministry. And they have stated clearly that they are going to work with me and support government to achieve its aims,” he said.