By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

Leaders  of organised business sector under the umbrella of Akwa Ibom Business Community, AIBC, especially small and medium-scale enterprises, have lamented the negative effect of multiple levies and inadequate power supply on their businesses.

Some of them, who spoke to journalists in Uyo, lamented that such challenges have been responsible for failures and the lack of growth among micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, over the years in the state.

President-General, AIBC, Mr. Lordswill Umani, said: “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs have played and continue to play significant roles in the growth, development and industrialisation of many economies the world over. China, Malaysia, Korea, India, Bangladesh etc., are good examples.

Trade collapse

“But for some time now, most of our factories are in state of decay and dysfunction due to challenges. So many businesses collapsed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Insufficient power supply is a burden to industrialists in the state. Presently, the condition is unbearable due to high cost of diesel and fuel.

“Government has continually neglected this sector and the sector has not had the opportunity to sit down with government to address these critical economic issues affecting them.

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“The Akwa Ibom State Government should partner with the business community in the state to develop at least three industrial hubs and power plant for cottage industries and artisans. There should be development in the three senatorial districts to enable our businesses to thrive,” he advised.

Entrepreneurs mobilise against guber aspirant without blueprint

Umani, however, warned that it would not be business as usual as they have begun sensitisation of over 500,000 of their members that are delegates not to vote any gubernatorial aspirant that his blueprint did not show he would be ready to partner or work with the business community. 

“The organised private sector in the state needs to be carried along by the state government to effectively play her role in building the economy. In 2023, we want Akwa Ibom to become an industrial city where businesses boom.  “So we will only support and vote for someone whose blueprint is in line with our drive, irrespective of the party the person belongs to, Akwa Ibom is bigger than any political party. What matters to us now is to see how businesses will survive and grow,” Umani said.

Williams decries manifold charges

Speaking, chairman, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists, NASSI in the state, Mr. Richard Williams, noted: “Small businesses cannot survive multiple levies. If you go to Itam Market in Itu Local Government Area, there are different agents collecting same levy. 

“A woman selling garri, sometimes buys four cups at N100 and sell three cups for N100.  Different groups from different agents come to collect levy from her and at the end of the day, that woman will not make any profit after selling her garri.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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