Dr Christian Madubuko is the Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation in Anambra State. In this interview with OKEGWO KENECHUKWU, he speaks on the recent revolution on the trade and industrialization in the state
What is your mission for the ministry?
Well, it is simple. My task was to accomplish Governor Obiano’s vision to make Anambra state the first investment destination for investors not only in Nigeria but in the West African Sub-Region Anambra state as you know has the largest market in the west African Sub-Sahara and the present Administration under Governor Willie Obiano is determined to make the State Business hub nub of the region in line with her philosophy “light of the nation”.
Let me restate that this administration makes it mandatory before the expiration of the tenure, to make it the first choice investment destination and more preferred location to site new industries. We have also put machineries in motion to create an enabling environment for investors to invest in the state.
The state is among the safest state in Nigeria of today if not the first.
There are good net- work of roads and available market for the products.
There had been public outcry over extortion and imposition of double taxations on traders and visitor alike. What is the true position sir?
Let me put the record straight, Anambra State government had not at any point in time under the present administration encouraged double taxation rather she has streamlined its operational policy on the generation of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
All the taxes in the state are paid directly into the government coffers and not to individuals. On the menace of touts in Anmabra state, my ministry set up what we call the task force on illegal revenue collection. As am speaking to you now, over 150 illegal revenue collectors are standing trial at various courts on various charges ranging from extortion, forgery, stealing and falsification of government receipts, with intention to dupe the public.
You were also entrusted with wealth creation for Ndi Anambra. How do you intend to achieve this?
It is our hope that with adequate security and a level playing ground for investors in the state, we will have a vast opportunity of employment, training of youth entrepreneurship, skill acquitting and a lot more to re-position the people to be self-reliant. The state has also a vast arable farm for Agricultural development and the government has invested more on agriculture and can generate over one million jobs for our unemployed youths.
What can you point as your achievements in the ministry?
We have made a lot of progress. We have also taken our revolution Advocacy to all nook and cranny to ensure that traders and visitors in Anambra are treated with utmost concern and hospitality. You cannot find any single touts along any street or roads collecting one form of revenue or the other for himself or government. Recall also that Anambra State had in April this year banned collection of any form of revenue pending the time government come out with a new policy guideline on the collection of revenue for the state.
We observed with regret, I must say, that prior to the ban, the streets of Anambra were taken over by faceless touts who collect various kinds of revenue in the name of the state government. It was discovered that the state government was losing over N400 million to individuals who invaded the state from various part of the country, printing and issuing tickets of various brands to vehicular operators, NAPEP tricycle operators, traders, industrialists and the Organised Private Sectors of the economy.
We have been able to clean this mess and it is on-going; and anybody caught indulging in such unwholesome activities would be made to face the full weight of the law.
The state government has been accused of imposing market leaders from the governor’s country home on the traders. How true is this allegation Sir?
I am not aware of that. In some markets where elections were conducted under my watch since assumption of office, the traders had always elected their leaders. I am not a trader and I don’t vote either, neither does the governor. However such is the handiwork of the anti-Governor Obiano administration who are hell bent in destroying the state. I made bold to say that those peddling such unfounded rumours are not from Anambra State.
I can tell you that 65 per cent of those arrested by illegal revenue task force are not from Anambra, yet they operate as government agents when they are not. I want also to state categorically that it is no longer business as usual. Anambra must be cleaned up off robbers, vandals.
These faceless people have chased out customers who come to buy and sell in the state. How could you justify that touts prevail on the people to pay for any luggage bought in the market even if the person is inside Keke or shuttle buses. As they carry out such nefarious activities, others are robbing passengers in broad day light at Upper Iweka, Bridge head, Owerri road among others.
What is your position on the crisis rocking the leadership of the Anambra Market Amalgamated traders Association as its president proceeds to the National Assembly?
There is no crisis in Anambra state traders leadership. The state government just announced a caretaker committee to see the affairs of the traders pending the time there would be an election into the offices.
The former President General of the association, Chief Okwudi Ezenwakwo, won an election into the National Assembly to represent Orumba North and South Federal constituency and his tenure just expired, so we need time to conduct election and ensure that proper people were elected to take over the mantle of leadership. Anambra government holds the traders in high esteem and would want a formidable team to lead them.
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