Captains of industry in Imo State, under the aegis of Imo Economic Development Initiative (IEDI) have raised the alarm over rising domestic debt of Imo State, which they allege has hit N93.27 billion.
This was one of eight-point fears expressed by the leadership of IEDI, in a letter dated January 5, 2018, signed by the chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu, and addressed to Governor Rochas Okorocha.
“We are concerned about the rising domestic debt. As at December 31, 2016, according to the Debt Management Office, Imo State was owing N93.27 billion, up from N26 billion in 2011”, IEDI chairman said.
This came as a frontline indigene and politician, Mr. Charles Abia, from Okwudor in Njaba Local Government Area, attacked the Rochas Okorocha administration, rating it very poor and unable to address the sufferings of the people of the state.
IEDI also expressed concern that a report which profiles the viability and sustainability of states, showed that Imo State ranked 22nd in the whole country, pointing out that it was a marked decline from the 17th position it occupied on the same index, three years ago.
“We are concerned by the low level of participation by the state, in Federal Government intervention funding mechanisms, especially in agriculture, health and SME activities”, Professor Iwu said.
While stating that “the state is facing economic stagnation,” the IEDI chairman however traced the situation to poor money circulation within the lower strata of the society.
“We suggest that government should ensure that salaries are paid as and when due, to minimise hardship in the state”, Iwu said.
IEDI lamented that economic challenges in Imo have been heightened by banning tricycles from plying the roads, without the provision of adequate alternative means of mass transit.
“We are currently ranked 34 out of 36 states. With such a dismal rank, Imo has little or no hope of attracting new businesses to alleviate the unemployment rate and generally boost the economy of the state,” IEDI noted.
While expressing concern over “the obvious low activity level of international multinational funding and donor agencies’ assisted projects in the state,” the group equally recalled with glee that in the past, funds from these organisations had gone a long way in assisting the delivery of government projects.”
Meanwhile, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha’s administration yesterday, was rated very poor at addressing the sufferings of the people of the state.
Mr. Charles Abia, from Okwudor in Njaba Local Government Area of the state, made this statement in Owerri, while pointing out the lack of government presence in the area.
He also said that as a result of Okorocha’s style of governance and poor policies, the people of the state, are hungry and need food on their table.
Abia said: “I am in politics for Njaba constituency, because I think so much about the people of Njaba and Imo State. I have been involved in a lot of humanitarian interventions and I know that there is a limit to what you can do as a private citizen.
“Really, with the way Imo State is currently, it will not take you time to know what our people need, because we are in this together. Our people are hungry and they need food.
“In Imo State, in Nigeria, in Africa, the development index is so poor, child and maternal mortality is so high and hunger is high, every single person must be involved in the issue of development.”