By PETER EGWUATU
The Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji , has ruled out the possibility of the state government accessing the Nigerian capital market via bond issue to raise money for developmental purposes.
The Governor revealed this when he hosted financial journalists at the government house in Umuahia, Abia State during a 3-day seminar organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), titled “Financial Inclusion in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects”.
According to him, “There is no need to access the bond market if the state government can be able to get Internally Generated Revenue ( IGR) that can help pay its recurrent expenses. Most state governments spend much money in servicing recurrent expenses.
“For use, we get between N3.5 billion and N3.8 billion allocation from the Federal Government and by time we make provision for the recurrent expenditure little is left for us to provide infrastructure. We have been trying to trim down our workforce, especially on those workers that are redundant. We have huge wage bill to pay as we also have to empower our youths in order to curb crimes.
Continuing, he said, “We are trying to improve on our IGR so that it can be able to pay for some of the recurrent expenditure, while we use our allocation from the Federal Government to provide the needed infrastructure that will attract both local and foreign investment.
“For this government, we have constructed many roads in Umuahia, Aba and all the other local government areas to allow free flow of traffic. In addition to this, we have beeb working with private sector on power to ensure we flow steady supply of power. When there is steady supply of electricity it will help Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Aba, and Umuahia to produce in large quantities and at less cost. There will be multiplier effects as more job would be created.”
Commenting on security situation in Abia State, Governor Orji said the security network in the state has created a conducive business environment. Expectedly, we have cashed in on it to woo investors. I have been meeting with investors who have shown interest in doing business in the state either alone or in partnership with our government.
“So, security issues have been tacked long before now and Abia is the most peaceful state in our country today. One of the ways we tackled security problem was by empowering our youths with skills, buying them tricycles, vehicles for transportation and brought in Soldiers to add to other security officers to chase away hoodlums that refused to be rehabilitated. We pay N15,000 to youth that are ready to acquire skills.”
He further noted that the policy of Abia State government is to encourage the development of industrial activities. “We are reach in agriculture. We have embarked on aggressive agricultural revolution. We produce palm oil, cocoa, cassava and other cash crops. We are just creating enabling environment to attract investors in food processing that will generate income to the people and state,” the Governor added.