By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
The Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma, on Wednesday revealed his plans for Imo state, part of which he said a State Economic Development and Rehabilitation Council, SEDARC, will be established in Imo, in order to reinvigorate the economy.
The governor spoke in Owerri, during his median broadcast to the people of the state.
Uzodinma said among other things that SEDARC, will address the issue of abandoned roads, collapsing bridges Otammiri water scheme and others.
He went further to say that his government would uphold local government autonomy, conduct credible local government election, prompt payment of salaries and pension.
The governor was of the opinion that his government would develop a new school curriculum that will introduce skills and digital learning adding that in two years he will archive 75 percent healthcare for all.
Vanguard captured some aspects of the promises of the governor to Imo people, on the Imo economy, he said: “Our focus in the New Imo State shall be job creation and massive economic growth. To this end we shall ensure:
“Mainstream Macro-Economic Programme which will involve a “3-R” Algorithm, recovery of damaged economic structures, reconstruction of core infrastructure, and rehabilitation of component micro-economic institutions Micro-Small-Medium-Enterprises via Public-Private Partnership (PPP)
“Rapid economic Diversifications through “Backward Integration,” involving a synergy of Rural-Urban development paradigm. A shift from core public sector driven economy to a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) driven one.
“Encourage private sector-driven knowledge-based enterprise system. Provide enabling environment and selective policy intervention to bolster sustainable Medium Small Micro Enterprises (MSMEs).
“Encourage Diaspora Rural Economic Partnership – Local Government Rural Malls, and Small-Scale Industries – agriculture, and Farm Settlements via Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies, etc.
“Stimulate downstream Value Chain through intervention and support to MSMEs, and thus generate employment opportunities at Local Government levels.
“Ensure that De Sam Mbakwe’s International Cargo Airport receives URGENT Federal Government support, and provisions to qualify for IATA approval – for Air Safety and increased Traffic flow.
“Establishment of Graduate Entrepreneurship Scheme to equip graduates with requisite set of skills for self-employment in the evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“About 750 graduates shall benefit from the initial phase of the GES Programme. The government shall provide necessary guarantees for Start-ups through the facilities of State Development Finance and Investment Corporation (DFIC).
“Establishment of State Economic Development And Rehabilitation Council (SEDARC) -to provide remedial framework and templates to redress the chronic fiscal and infrastructural deficits militating against State economic development.
“SEDARC shall address key economic challenges of the State- Abandoned Roads in Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe Metropolis, the Collapsing bridges, the abandoned Otamiri Water scheme, etc. shall receive the immediate attention of SEDARC.
“In addition, SEDARC shall fully identify, locate and recover all missing Public Assets, as well as coordinate a forensic investigation into the State Finances and determine the veracity of the huge public Debts estimated at over N200 billion, as well establish the Net-worth/Balance Sheet of the State Government as at January 13, 2020.
“SEDARC shall also recover all illegally acquired Private Lands, estates by Government or its agents and return them to their rightful owners.
“SEDARC shall abolish all forms of unconscionable “Imperial,” Taxes, levies, and fees other than that established by law which its applications shall not impoverish the citizens.
“The State BIR shall in liaison with SEDARC develop a new Imo Internal Revenue Menu that maximizes IGR Per Capital Contribution to the State GDP.
“Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) shall be re-activated and in liaison with the State Development Finance and Investment Coporation (DFIC) engage in active trading in Nigeria’s Capital and Money Markets and by so doing build-up formidable portfolio of Financial Assets to support Government’s Treasury Services, etc.”
While his plans for local government administration, he said: “In line with the provisions of the Constitution, we shall urgently restore the autonomy and integrity of Local Government Administration.
“Thank God, therefore, for the objective effort of the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari in uncoupling the local government finances from the meddlesome interests of state officials.
“The dynamic LG System of our New Imo State will guarantee the steady trickle-down of democracy dividends to the atomized hamlets and clans of our rural communities. To actualize this, credible Local government elections will be held soon.
“Our New Imo State will enshrine a new culture of shared prosperity in which the common wealth of the people is made available for the good of all. Above all, it is a new Imo State that will ensure good governance, prosperity, rule of law and equity.
“The Mission cuts across party line, religious leaning and intra ethnic divides. From now on it will no longer be governance as usual, but governance of the people, by the people and for the people, without discrimination against anyone.
“In practical terms therefore, the trajectory of development in the New Imo State of our vision is anchored on a “3-R” super structure of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery of key economic and political institutions that all of us will be proud of.
“In this wise, the New Imo State envisions the overhaul of State Civil Service and relevant institutions of the Bureaucracy for optimal efficiency and Service delivery- involving prompt payment of salaries, pensions and other statutory obligations to spur officers to greater productivity.
“In addition to the conduct of credible local government elections soon, we shall reconstitute the State-Local Government Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JACC,) (a prototype of the FAAC) to manage and superintend over Local Government’s Funds. Accordingly, all deductions from Local Government funds are hereby stopped. Local Governments will henceforth receive their full allocation and be accountable for same.
“The State Government shall contribute 10% of its net IGR to JAAC as state Governments counterpart Funds towards rural economic and social development. The Autonomy of Local Government shall be restored forthwith.
“To Ensure Maximum Security in Imo State we shall Immediately establish a new Security architecture – aided with installation of State of the Arts Digital Technology/equipment linked to the 27 LGCs/DPO to enhance crime detection, intelligence gathering, tracking and apprehension of criminals, etc.”
Also, the governor disclosed his plans for reforming the civil service, “Civil Servants to be trained in line with new Digital Technology ecosystem platform in liaison with some Technology Incubation Centre.
“Hierarchy and Seniority in the Public Service shall be restored forthwith to ensure discipline and adherence to Civil Service Rules.
“Emoluments of core Civil Servants shall continue to be drawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, (CRF) and paid promptly but not later than every month end. Pensions and Gratuities shall likewise continue to be treated as First-Line Charge to the CRF in accordance with the provisions of the law.
“Specifically, the salaries of Civil Servants and allowances of pensioners will henceforth be paid fully. Similarly, the State Government will commence payment of minimum wage once negotiation with Labour leaders is completed.
“Recruitment, Promotion and Discipline in the Civil Service shall be patterned to reflect the NEW IMO Paradigm. Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) shall now include an objective assessment of discrete output and supported with concrete evidence of MCIP (Mandatory Career Improvement Programme).
“The Treasury System shall be restored and the 27 Sub-Treasuries in the 3- Geo-political Zones restored to ensure a seamless downstream government service delivery in the Rural Communities.
“We shall promote a Digital Technology-driven Civil Service to ensure real-time service delivery. A staff Housing Loan scheme and Vehicle Advances shall be put in place in partnership with the Mortgage and Commercial Banks, guaranteed by Government, through the facilities of a revamped State Development Finance Incorporated, (DFIC.)”
On how he intended to improve the health sector of the state, “A NEW IMO Health architecture would include urgent Rehabilitation of the moribund Schools of Nursing, Mid-Wifery in Owerri, Aboh Mbaise, and Awo-Omamma. Awo-Omamma and Aboh Mbaise shall, in liaison with the Nursing and midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), be converted into collegiate systems for Basic midwifery.
“These very important health training institutions shall be rehabilitated and equipped within the first one year of our administration to ensure early and seamless accreditation. We shall review our standing with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in relation to equipment and materials supplied to these institutions and government counterpart funding, etc.
“Establish criteria for research and integration of alternative medicine or Traditional Medical practice (Trado-medicine) into NEW IMO medical practices.
“The IMSU College of Medicine, and the Teaching Hospital at Orlu, the Public Health Laboratory, and the Specialist Hospitals in Owerri, shall be equipped for Laser Surgeries, as well as serve as Regional Medical Informatics Centres, for the Southeast Region.
“The abandoned MRI and other sensitive scanning Machines mysteriously transferred from IMSUTH Orlu to “OCHIEDIKE,” shall be rehabilitated and restored for services in accordance with existing MoU with GE, and Howard International Medical Center, USA.”
Just as he announced that part of his education plans that “A new Imo State will crave for: an Educational System that has capacity to produce a new generation of Graduates equipped for immediate post school employment and self-reliance.
“An Educational Programme to enhance innovation, and creative Human Capital with capacity to add value to State and nation building.
“Build Foundation for innovative Human Capital that shall drive downstream value chain creation. Mandatory Professional Teachers Continuous Education Programme in line with the transformative impact of Digital Technology on Education
“Provide Measured Financial Support to students with exceptional pedigree in academics, innovation and entrepreneurship. Other lateral non-financial support include, mentoring, career guidance and counseling, etc.
“Establishment of a Job Placement Office – to enhance job search and placement, Internship (IT) and other career related programmes for graduates.
“Establishment of Diaspora Learning Centres for Student Exchange and Technology Incubation Centres in the USA, UK, China and Canada, etc.
“Development of a new Curriculum for schools that would integrate skills learning, innovation and entrepreneurship required to fit into the new Digital ecosystem.
“Establishment of New Digital learning Environment with cognate Digital Teaching Tools and Programmes in Six Pilot Centres within the Three Senatorial zones of the State. Restoration of Inspectorate Division in all the Zonal School Management Boards to enhance academic quality and content delivery, etc.”
The government of Uzodinma also promised tight security for the residents and investors in the state, saying: “We shall create a Neighbourhood Security Watch code-named ‘North East-West’ (NEW) involving a coordinated network of Community Intelligence Gathering Programme in liaison with the NPF, DSS, NSCDC, NSO and some Private Security Companies.
“In tandem, we shall launch Operation “FOC,” (Flush Out Criminals) – a combined Security Operations targeted at Flashpoints and Centres of high criminal activities, including hideouts, jungles, uncompleted buildings, forest, shrines, lakes and creeks, etc.
“Whether in Ohaji Egbema, or Nwaorieubi Shrine at Ifakala, or in the thick jungle at Akokwa, or Njaba or Urashi, We shall rout them and free our society of the menace of banditry, kidnappings, and ritual killings including Yahoo-Plus, and Alibaba Gangsters. It shall be a “SAD” season for criminals in Imo State.
“Community Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Town Union Presidents shall be held responsible for any security lapses within their domain Failure to Report, concealing or benefiting directly or indirectly from proceeds of criminal activities, shall attract maximum punishment.
“A cash reward shall be announced for a Whistle-blowing Campaign. Our NEW IMO STATE shall no longer be a haven for kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists, Yahoo Plus, and Alibaba Gangs, baby factory, and ritualists, human trafficking, etc.”