By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Nnewi—Anambra State industrialists, on the platform of Harbour Bridge Head Industrialists Association, has raised the alarm that half of the industries in the area have closed shop with over 35,000 people losing their jobs due to government’s harsh economic policies and poor electricity supply.
Chairman of the association, Chief Paul Okonkwor, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in his Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area, during the first New Yam Festival of Isuofia town, after over 20 years of crisis that led to division of the town into two.
Chief Okonkwor, who is the chairman of Pokobros West African Group of Companies, said: “Over 35,000 staff of affected industries in the area have lost their jobs due to the inability of the affected industries to cope with the harsh economic policies of the Federal Government and poor electricity supply.
“Many industrialists are struggling to survive because leaders in successive governments in Nigeria lack the knowledge and tutelage of industrial operations and failed to engage people with knowledge of industry operations to guide them on what to do to boost industrial development, which has exposed industrialists who spend huge sums of money to establish industries.
“There is no conducive atmosphere to operate; there is no light, there is insecurity and multiple taxation. All these eat deep into our operational capital. Sometimes, they block our accounts over multiple tax demands and there is poor electricity supply as most of us run on private power generating plants that consume millions of naira every week.
“Michelin and Dunlop left Nigeria to establish in Ivory Coast. Today, that country is generating about 25,000 Megawatts of electricity, while we are still talking about being able to generate about 5000 Megawatts.
“The rivers are filled with sand. Government is not dredging the rivers and the result is the flooding we see every year. They told us that River Niger has been dredged, but truth is not true and it is the reason we suffer the flooding problem for 13 years now.”
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the situation now that he is talking about promoting industrialisation in Nigeria and discouraging importation of many things produced by indigenous industries.