*As govt laments tax evasion
By Anayo Okoli
Umuahia â€” ABIA State government has said it spends two-thirds of the stateâ€™s resources on Aba, the state’s commercial capital, in an effort to develop it.
This comes as the government lamented the non-payment of taxes byÂ industrialists in the commercial city.
Governor Theodore Orji, who disclosed this, noted that there were as many industries in Aba as there are alsoÂ many problems facing the city, saying his administration had been working hard to change the face of the city.
Orji, who spoke when the leadership of Abia State branch of Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists, NASI, visited him, lamented that of the about 600 industries in Aba, only 26 of them pay their taxes.
He said it was regrettable that the same people who want government to continue to provide amenities andÂ conducive atmosphere to operate, refuse to pay tax.
According to him, Aba alone is capable of generating up to N1 billion monthly for the government if businessmen and industries pay their taxes.
He appealed to industrialists in the state to pay their taxes to enable the government meet its obligations to the people.
Orji, however, disclosed that the government has developed a machinery to ensure that henceforth, industrialists in the state paid their taxes to the state government, noting that the government invests more than two-thirds of the stateâ€™s resources on Aba because of its strategic importance.
According to him, his administration has tried to provide the enabling environment for business to thrive in Aba.
He pointed out that the government was doing its best to see that Aba was organised, adding, however, that the problem of Aba, such as erosion and flooding were caused by the people themselves, as traders turned every where, including residential buildings, to markets.
Also speaking with journalists at an interactive session to mark his three years of governance, Orji noted thatÂ â€œAba is another problem that we have. Abaâ€™s problem needs external intervention. It needs Federal Governmentâ€™s intervention.
â€œThe problems of Aba are too much for the state to handle; nevertheless we are trying our best.â€
The governor charged Nigerians to encourage local industrialists by patronising made in Nigerian products.
Orji pledged to partner with NASI to encourage industrial development of the state and assured that he will look into their constraints.
Earlier, the state chairman of the organisation, Deacon Samuel Kalu, described NASI as a veritable tool for industrial development of the country.
He assured that its contribution would help fast-track development in the state if carried along by the government.