…As industrialists want friendly operating environment
The industrial sector of the economy of Imo State may once again start to boom going by what Governor Rochas Okorocha said recently, but his aides, including the media team, kept sealed lips on the issue when contacted for clarification.
Industrialists in the state have however, said that unless the current poor state of affairs as it touches on operating environment is urgently addressed, boosting the economy of the state through manufacturing would remain a pipe dream.
But if Governor Okorocha’s dream comes true, it is going to boost the economy of Imo State, reduce the numerical growth list of the unemployed able-bodied men and women because as much as about 3000 will say bye-bye to the overflowing unemployment market.
The governor, while speaking to journalists on the state of the affairs of Imo and what his government had done, said that the Onitsha Road Industrial Estate would receive 10 manufacturing companies and as much as 3000 workers would be engaged by the companies that would establish and produce various goods and services in the state.
But as matter of clarification, the governor failed to mention at least one of the companies expected in the state or where the firms would be coming from.
Efforts by our correspondent to get some clarifications from his media team did not yield fruit as they kept adamant on the issue.
Currently, Imo State is bereft of serious manufacturing companies because about 95 percent of such companies had closed shops and left the state because of what they termed “unconducive environment” at the Onitsha Road Industrial Layout, located close to Irete in Owerri West LGA.
The industrial estate was built by the late Sam Mbakwe administration but the successive governments have abandoned the place, forcing those who were operating there to close shop.
BDSUNDAY investigation show that while some of the companies that left the industrial estate are now at Omoku and Ahoada in Rivers State, some others relocated to Abia State where they saw a lesser harsh operating environment.
At the time of writing this report, there were no roads to enable some entrepreneurs struggling to survive to access their firms.
Over there, the security of investments is not guaranteed as the police post in the industrial area had been closed down and police who used to be there were reposted to other areas. Weeds, reptiles, thieves and other dangerous beings have taken over the place.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other business groups had paid countless courtesy visits to the Imo State government, urging the governor to look into the problems in the Onitsha Road Industrial Area but these have not yielded any worthy outcome.
Those who spoke with BDSUNDAY on the issue include members of the Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OCCIMA), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).