By; KENNETH ORUSI, Asaba
The Delta State government has pleaded with members of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), over difficulties experienced while doing business in the state.
The state commissioner for health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, who represented Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, at the 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the theme: “The Nexus of Science, Technology and Industry”, held at Grand Hotel Tuesday said, “It is unfortunate that some persons have gone through this harassment. They pointed out on the ministry of transport specifically but I will say to you that it is not just transport, the local government council and some other agencies of government. I am sure that shortly you will realize that it is a thing of the past”.
The governor said the state was really interested in been a home for persons who are interested in engaging in investment and all manner of manufacturing, “and it is the duty and thought of government that we must provide the enabling environment to enable manufacturers and investors carry out their activities”.
Okowa lamented that some manufacturing factories in the state have gone moribund, “many years ago, I saw industries like the Asaba Textile Mill and all manner of industries now they are nowhere to be found”, regretting that even the new ones that are coming up, some operate below expectations, “as if they are not even present. Maybe skeptical of doing business, unemployment continues to rise and unfortunately nobody seems to be looking at the little things that we can do to get back on board”.
He charged participants to critically look inwards to forge a way that encouraged manufacturers to look into practical aspects and simple things that could be done to invigorate the manufacturing sector.
Speaking further, Okowa, said, “For Delta State I am challenged by some things I hear concerning Abia State. The shoes that the police wear and shirts that are sold in the boutiques are all from Aba, that is what we see on Tv. I don’t know if that is true but somehow I hear that manufacturing activities in such states are equally very buoyant”.
He pleaded with MAN to partner with the state government to bring forth a change in the industrial and manufacturing atmosphere in the state, “I believe that Delta State is a manufacturing friendly state. I also believe that ideas that you will bring forth will be looked into by government to see that we are able to even do more than we are doing now”, noting that if there are areas the association thinks that government is lagging behind, they should be free to meet with the commerce and industry commissioner or meet with the governor, “he is a man who wants to hear and attend to issues that will bring development to Delta State and improve the manufacturing sector that will create employment for our teeming youths to be supported by this present administration”, he added.
Also speaking, the National President of MAN, Dr Frank Jacobs, lamented that the manufacturing sector is still adversely affected by the recession which the country has exited.
He said the federal and state government should work in synergy to carry along relevant stakeholders in fashioning out appropriate strategies to improve and stabilize the country’s economy.
According to him, “there is no doubt that Delta and Edo states are still lacking behind in terms of industrial development”, calling on both state governors to intensify efforts at encouraging more investment and manufacturing by providing appropriate incentives and infrastructures that would encourage investors, “as well as taking a closer look the functions of the government, ministries and agencies which tend to discourage investors”.
He disclosed that the manufacturing sector has been acknowledged as the highest contributor of job and wealth creation, skill development and in technology, “it is therefore imperative for the state government to institute a more efficient and effective objective mechanism with the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria. This is to ensure the continued sustenance of existing manufacturing companies, some of which are in the verge of collapse”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Edo/Delta branch chairman, Dr Alofoje Unuigboje, carpeted Delta government over the challenges his members face in doing business in the state compared to her counterpart Edo State where members enjoy infrastructural development that has brought ease of doing business.
Hear him: “ease of doing business has experienced considerable improvement in Edo, premised on the empirical evidence of free movement of goods on Edo state roads and the absence of innumerable urchins from industrial premises, who impose arbitrary and extortionate demands”.
He continued: “the ready access of ministries and other government establishments up to summit, to manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), has engendered a mutually rewarding partnership between Edo state government and MAN. This cannot be said of Delta State from where companies have moved to Edo State”.
The event witnessed paper delivered by Prof. Princewill Alozie, question and answer session and exhibition/interaction section.