Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has hinted his administration would soon establish a Commission on the Ease of Doing Business.
According Otti who said he was in a hurry to transform the state, the Commission has become necessary in order to eliminate the obstacles citizens and genuine investors encounter in their efforts to invest in the state.
“We will set up a committee or commission on the Ease of Doing Business, which will look at some of the stumbling blocks to the ease of doing business, including the issuance of Certificate of Occupancy, Business Registration; ease at which Government responds, transfer of titles/and so on.
“We also do know that if it is not easy to do business, people will go to where it is easy to do business. So, we lose by not addressing all the issues.”
While responding to a concern raised by his guests on the difficulties in accessing Certificate of Occupancy in the state, Gov. Otti promised to wade in.
“I agree with you completely. Sometimes recovery becomes a problem when you extend some of these supports that you mentioned. We must go back to think of, first of all, how to encourage our people to benefit from some of the items you mentioned. Most importantly, to also support you in recovering.
“You also noted the issue of Certificate of Occupancy. It’s one of the items that don’t help the State in the ease of doing business. The last time I checked, we were somewhere around the twenties out of the 36 States. That is not a good place to be for a State that is both the commercial and industrial nerve center of the South East.”
Gov. Otti thanked the CBN team for the visit and promised to address all the issues they raised “so that Abians and residents would benefit from the programmes and interventions of the bank.”
Speaking earlier, the CBN team congratulated the Governor on his resounding victory at the March 18, 2023 governorship election and promised to support his development strides as one of their own having come from the banking industry.
“We are glad that someone, a very senior colleague, is heading a State Government. That means those of us in the banking industry should be able to relate easier with the State Government,” said Mr Kelechi Adiele, Spokesman of the team.
He informed the Governor that the apex bank had designated Abia as one of the states to receive CBN palliative of food items to cushion the biting effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
The team further expressed the readiness of CBN to partner Abia State Government in the area of building Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME) Village; financing agriculture, cooperatives and other developmental and empowerment programmes.
Adiele, who heads CBN’s Department of Development Finance in Abia, identified some of the challenges as lack of synergy and the necessary structure to work with in things like interventions in Abia State.
He commended Otti for appointing an aide on Intervention, saying the development will help bridge the gap that hitherto existed between the State Chief Executive and Intervention Agencies.
“So, when I saw your list of appointments and I noticed that you have a Special Adviser on Interventions, I was very pleased that we have a Focal Person to relate with and explain our challenges.
“Another thing is the issue of recovery. In Abia, we don’t have structural traditional institutions to help us get to the grassroots when it comes to recovery,” Adiele explained.
“So many business men and women, who are small entrepreneurs wish to access funds from CBN but they do not have a C of O, and you know what that means,” it declared.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Policy and Interventions, Rev Father Christian Anokwuru; and the Abia State chapter Chairman of National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Mr. Eze Linus Okezie, were present during the visit.