GOVERNANCE is about charting a news course for common good. In the past 100 days, a paradigm in the affairs of Anambra State has come to bear in the state. A silent but active indicator points to the direction of the economic drive of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo since assuming office.
Economists allude that economic development is a critical component that drives economic growth in an economy, creating new job opportunities and facilitating an improved quality of life that involves increased access to opportunities created by economic growth for existing and future residents.
On assumption of office (even before contesting for the governorship of the state), Prof. Soludo harped on the economic development of Anambra State, the Light of the Nation. Anambra State is not only a leading state in Nigeria, but also the most populous and developed in the South-east Geo-political Zone. Prof. Soludo stated that he wants to improve the performance of doing business in the state to make it more stable, productive and unlock new opportunities as this enables faster and safer growth for an economically viable and prosperous Anambra State.
Gov. Soludo made it known that to achieve his goal that Anambra will require an economic overhaul of the statecraft towards that. The politics to achieve that requires mobilising the citizenry in the best direction as this will strengthen their confidence and lay the foundation for a high performing state. Business today operates in an environment of constant change and to ensure that Anambra State is well-placed to respond to changing times, a new system has to be in place to pilot and assist his policy to enable it fulfill his mission and achieve his vision for the state.
The Soludo administration identified some critical factors but often ignored avenues to drive the economy of the state such as maximising the economic potential of the markets revenue in Anambra State which is the biggest in the Southeast and dealing with challenges touts poised in the state.
Towards achieving this goal, the state government reconstituted interim caretaker committees of various markets for optimum performance and quality service. This aimed at strengthening market leadership for effective partnership capable of actualising the vision of the administration for the state.
The Deputy Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Paschal Agbodike warned the market leaders against tax evasion or diversion of government revenue saying that “it is a criminal offence” punishable by law; and called on traders to contribute their quota in building the state.
After being sworn in, Gov. Soludo addressed the challenge with the collection of taxes and internally generated revenue (IGR), which is essential for the socioeconomic development and growth of the state.
He highlighted that his administration will go forward with technology-driven revenue and tax collection, stressing that it is essential to achieving his goals of improving the standard of living for ndi Anambra.
“Anambra State is well-stocked with business owners and retailing endeavors. It will produce good results in terms of the required income that will improve living in the state when technologically supported IGR drives it,” he said.
Gov. Soludo, concerned about the threat posed by touts in markets, parking lots, streets, and roadways who intimidate vendors, customers, cab drivers, commercial bus drivers, and tricycle passengers, proclaimed touting in any form as unlawful in order to raise money for the state. He made it quite apparent that illegal income collection for the state is no longer permitted in Anambra State.
Until now, touts have created a chaotic and downright insane scene brazenly extorting helpless levies and fees, causing confusion, gridlock in the streets.
The activities of touts have led to emergence of violent cartels and cults, and street fights between purportedly cult gangs that frequently end in murderous gambits.
To checkmate touts activities which denied the state of revenues, the state established tax forces to bring order back to the streets, markets, and roadways, the entire range of revenue cum fees collections will be streamlined.
Gov. Soludo maintained that the period of blatant impunity has passed, and Anambra State is ready to serve as an example of excellent governance and a disciplined IGR effort.