Obiano Meets Industrialists, Seeks Solution To Recession

Obiano Meets Industrialists, Seeks Solution To RecessionGovernor Willie Obiano of Anambra state says his administration is committed to supporting manufacturers in the state to flourish and have their businesses expanded in spite of the current economic recession.

The Governor disclosed this during an interactive meeting with members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the three branches of the Chambers of Commerce in the state at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.

The Governor stated that the manufacturers and importers are the key drivers of the economy because their activities create employment and generate money in the economic system.

He expressed regret over the present economic recession and how it has taken its toll on the private sector. The meeting was to identify those problems and see how both the state and federal government can ensure that businesses remain viable.

He intimated them that the Vice President would be visiting the state soon and he plans to identify the challenges facing the manufacturers, articulate them and present them to the Vice President when he visits.

He added that his meeting with the businessmen ahead of this visit would ensure that they speak with one voice on what areas the federal government will intervene as the Vice President plans to also meet with the business community.

Present at the meeting, were some members of the state executive council, and over 60 members of the business community.

The state’s Commissioner for Finance and Development Partners, Mr Ifeatu Onejeme, said that the Obiano administration has distinguished itself in matters concerning the welfare of every organization in the state through genuine commitment to addressing challenges bordering on the well-being of the people.

He also noted that the economic and business policies of the present government will have far reaching positive impact on the economy of the state in future.

In their various remarks, the industrialists noted high cost and scarcity of raw materials which leads to poor production, high dollar exchange rate, and epileptic power supply as major challenges.

One of the leaders of the association, Mr Paul Okonkwo, identified the dredging of the River Niger and compensation to the industrialists for the 2012 flood that destroyed a lot of factories at the Industrial Layout as great steps in the right direction.

He recalled that the past government of former President Jonathan raised up to 56 million naira for them but more needs to be done.

The industrialists also urged the federal government to create a window for subsidized exchange rate for the business class as that is a more urgent need.

2015 Elections: Jega Seeks Collaboration With United States

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked for more collaboration with the U.S. on electoral process in the country.

The commission’s Chairman, Prof. Attaihiru Jega, made this request on Monday during a visit to his office by the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle.

According to him, INEC is doing everything possible to improve on the electoral process to ensure that elections in the country are credible and transparent.

He said: “We are not promising a perfect election in 2015 but we are confident that we will do our best. We have taken some steps to achieve this. For instance, staff training, in collaboration with development partners, strategic plans and re-organised staff. We are planning a retreat to finalize the timetable for 2015.

“We are still on the Continuous Voters Register and have held series of meetings with security agencies, Civil Society Organizations and development partners ahead of 2015. While it is the responsibility of INEC to organise civic and other registration awareness, the commission faces challenges of funding as well.

“The resources available to discharge that responsibility are usually insufficient, given the enormity of the task of dealing with a large illiterate population and to get them really understand what to do not only during voting but the larger issues of costing good candidates and so on. So there is a lot of things the CSOs can do”, he said.

Mr. Entwistle, while pledging the Obama administration’s commitment to a transparent election in Nigeria come 2015, however, asked Nigerian politicians to ensure that their comments do not provoke tensions that would lead to violence.