Saturday, 26 December 2015

GOV. UGWUANYI AND HIS DEVELOPMENTAL EFFORTS

Rt. Hon. Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State Governor
In spite of the hard economic bearing in the country, the Enugu state government has been full of development initiatives to move the state forward. Apparently aware of the negative impact of the dwindling fortunes from the oil sector on monthly allocations from the federal government, the governor shortly after assuming office moved to improve on earnings from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). This is the only way to be able to carry out a number of development projects lined up in the state. The first move by the governor was the establishment of Enugu State Economic Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of technocrats that will, among others, advise the government on areas of economic development, including new infrastructure development, rehabilitation and sustaining development in urban and rural areas.

Challenges
One thing that manifested during the last governorship election in Enugu State was the clear support that Governor Ugwuanyi received from the people of the state. This massive support from all the senatorial zones is one challenge that the state governor is faced with today. What it means is that the present administration must work hard to develop the state in line with the expectations of the people.  The people are full of expectations.  With his performance  in the National Assembly, Governor Ugwuanyi won the heart of the people who believe that he will make the state proud if given the chance.  It was in consideration of this that the state government has lined up development projects for the state notwithstanding the hard economic times. The governor had promised a   holistic and inclusive development for the state during his campaign for the office, and as his aides say, he has hit the ground running to keep his promise.
Development Focus

There is so much to do to develop the state   but for the lean resources at a time like this. But Ugwuanyi has moved in the direction of urban development as well as a touch on rural areas as the resources could permit. Setting out with a Committee on urban development, the state government is currently carrying out one development effort or the other in various urban areas in the state. The idea is to develop the entire state in line with the governor’s campaign promises. The Committee had sought views from the people of the senatorial zones on how their areas could be developed. At one of such consultations, Mr. Chris Offor, a Chairman of the Enugu Urban Renewal Committee had sought the views of the people on how to develop Nsukka for the socio-economic benefits of the state. Offor had during the event assured that the present administration is determined to touch lives in terms of distribution of basic amenities for the development of the state. He said, “The second largest urban area in Enugu State and a university town founded over 50 years ago, Nsukka, deserved a face-lift to enable it compete with its contemporaries in attracting technology and knowledge-based businesses for the socio-economic growth of the state”.  Offor’s committee has reach out to other senatorial zones.

Massive Road Construction
Apparently realising the importance of good roads to development, Governor Ugwuanyi has made strong moves to open up new roads or rehabilitate dilapidating ones in the state.  Such roads could be found in all the senatorial zones.  He recently flagged off construction of five additional roads in the state.  Some of the projects include the 9th Mile Corner, Ngwo through Abor and Umulumgbe in Udi local government area and Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti local government area.  The State Commissioner for Information, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, recently said that Governor Uguwanyi, during a visit to the areas,  directed  that the roads be reconstructed without further delay. He added that the   roads in Udi and Ukehe would be financed between the state government and the local government areas. It will be in the ratio of 70 percent for the state government and 30 percent for local governments affected.

Housing Programmes for Workers
Apart from road reconstruction, the state government has also said that it is determined to touch the lives of  workers  by improving on their condition of service.   As part of this, the state government recently promised to   introduce    housing scheme for workers in local governments in the state. To achieve this, the state government has opened up discussions with the Federal Mortgage Bank in a strategic partnership to provide houses to the state’s workers.  The state governor explained that the extension of his housing scheme programme for workers to local government council level is to   enhance their  living standard.  In a speech when the management of the bank paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, he   assured that the strategic partnership with the bank would take the state to the next level in the housing sector. Under the project, about 100 housing units  would be provided for junior workers.  During the visit,   the leader of the bank team, Mr. Gimba Ya’ukuma, disclosed that the bank had developed affordable and accessible housing estates in Enugu worth billions of naira to ease accommodation challenges of the people of the state. He added that the bank has more housing programmes to help workers own their houses.  

IGR to the Rescue
With poor revenue from the oil sector, many states have had to strengthen their internal revenue generation mechanism. Enugu is one of them. On assuming office,   Ugwuanyi rolled out plans to have an efficient tax administration as the way to  improve the  revenue generation from the state.  But beyond just collection more taxes is equally the resolve of the Enugu State Economic Planning Commission   to harmonise the issue of taxation in the state. This in effect has addressed the allegation of multiple taxation in the state. The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Sam Ogbu Nwobodo,  however, shed more light on the issue of multiple taxation allegation. He said that when different agencies try to collect their revenues statutorily, it will appear as if it is multiple taxation. He explained that this was the reason harmonise taxation.  Experts believe that with the efforts of the state government on improvement in IGR, the finances of the state will improve to add to what may come from the monthly allocation. This will enable the state government handle various development projects that have been initiated for the well-being of the people. (Thisday)