The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the organized private sector have been called for an intentional and systematic partnership by Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo CFR, who described them as true partners for progress.
The Governor made this call at the MAN Business/Stakeholders Town Hall Meeting, which also saw the commissioning of the MAN Liason Office provided by Dozzy Group and the inauguration of the Elders’ Committee.
Soludo thanked members of MAN and its executives saying he had been eagerly anticipating today’s event ever since he took office.
Recalling his meeting with the landlords association, he revealed that they had talked about Onitsha and its environs, which are already dwindling and springing up on the other side of the river.
The Governor mentioned that the Government’s team to address the problem of touting and multiple taxation in Onitsha is made up of the Chairman of ANSIPPA, MD AIRS, Commissioner for Works, and others, and that they have taken copious notes about issues arising.
He also disclosed that there are plans to pass a law through the Anambra State House of Assembly making touting illegal and punishable by imprisonment for those found guilty.
The Governor stressed that while having MAN as an organization and including it in important Government committees is a good idea, his main goal is to transform Anambra from a state with a largely informal economy into a hub for industry, technology, and leisure.
He disclosed that the Anambra industrial policy would soon be implemented, and that a new Commissioner for Industry had been appointed to support his vision for manufacturing and industrialization.
“With a sizable urban population, Anambra’s future lies in industrialization and manufacturing, and we are dedicated to following this path.
“Our goal for Anambra is to make it a thriving community where people want to live and visit. People won’t be able to invest in the state if they can’t come and feel at home.
“In our master plan, we have also acquired 100 hectares of land that will house the center of commerce and grow to be Africa’s largest shopping mall, as well as 4000 hectares of land that will be an industrial city and the Nnewi Automobile Park at Akwihedi.
“We will develop a power policy now that the Nigerian constitution has been amended to include power on the concurrent list, he declared.
Onitsha once had a thriving textile industry, but it is now extinct, according to Soludo. He pledged to revive the textile industry in the region and said that buying locally is the best way to support its growth.
The Governor also revealed that, according to recently released data, Anambra State ranks first in the South East and is the seventh-easiest state in the nation to conduct business in.
He explained the upcoming Anambra talent and innovation week to the audience, saying it would be harnessed and there would be business incubation. He further stated that his administration would create future generations of young millionaires.
Soludo urged Ndi Anambra living abroad and outside the state to send 25–50% of the taxes they pay to their home country to Anambra, promising that if they did, the state would never be the same in five to ten years.
Soludo concluded, “I fully commit to this task ahead of me, but you have a part to play.
Earlier, HRM Otunba Francis Meshioye, the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, expressed gratitude to the Governor for honoring them with his presence as well as to his colleagues for the cordial welcome he received in the state.
He commended MAN members for sustaining their businesses during a difficult economic period.
The President emphasized that the role of MAN included providing foreign exchange as well as deepening ties between the public, private sectors and manufacturers in particular.
He prayed that the Dozzy Group’s Liason Office would bring good tidings and the inaugration of the Elders’ Committee forge a way ahead for manufacturers in the state.
On her part, Lady Ada Chukwudozie, Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (Anambra, Enugu, and Ebonyi), emphasized the need for the Government of Anambra State to find solutions to problems related to land allocation, title documents (C/O), the sit-at-home crisis, insecurity, unnecessary checkpoints and roadblocks, constant power supply for industries to operate efficiently, while praising the Governor for flagging-off more than 261km of roads in the state.
The Chairman also bemoaned the multiple taxes imposed on businesses in the state in form of IGR that have no direct impact on Government coffers. She suggested that a knowledgeable consultant meet with MAN stakeholders to discuss the issue and come up with a solution.
Lady Ada implored the Governor to include MAN in boards and committees that relate to industrialization in the state.
For Chief Chike Obidigbo on behalf of MAN in a message of goodwill, he reassured the Governor that his plans to transform Anambra to Dubai of Africa is possible and encouraged him to reach out because Anambra has eminent people who could help him actualize his visions.
He lamented the significant capital flight from Onitsha to Asaba and urged the Governor to foster a business-friendly environment that would enable industry in the state thrive.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah Representing Anambra South District, Speaker Anambra House of Assembly Rt Hon Uchenna Okafor, Deputy Speaker Anambra House of Assembly, Hon. Pascal Agbodike, Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr. Julius Chukwuemeka, Commissioner for Works, Engr Ifeanyi Okomma, Chairman AIRS, Richard Madiebo, MD ANSIPPA, Mark Okoye, MD ABS, Chido Obidiegwu, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, AVM Ben Chiobi, PG ASATU, Titus Akpudo DG MAN, Segun Ajayi Kadir, Traditional Ruler of Omor, Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume (Eze Igulube of Omor), Obi of Onitsha, HM Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe (Agbogidi) amongst others attended the event.