…….want activation of Onitsha in-land port, access to forex
Traders and manufacturers in Anambra state have lamented that major challenges they face in the present biting business economic weather include accessibility of foreign exchange, difficulty in movement of cash, massive extortion of traders on the roads by Customs and police Officers and the need to activate the Onitsha In-land Ports. They therefore called for the urgent intervention of the Federal government.
Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo and Chief Aloysius Okafor who spoke amongst others during the brief interaction with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who toured industrial and manufacturing premises within the state yesterday commended the initiative to bring the Vice President to discuss with them
They used the opportunity to raise issues on accessibility of foreign exchange, difficulty in movement of cash, massive extortion of traders on the roads by Customs Officers and policemen, and other challenges. They appealed for urgent intervention by the federal government.
It was then arranged for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance to meet with the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo over plans to grant manufacturers and traders in Anambra State access to funds at low interest rate.
The Vice President, Prof Osinbajo disclosed this when he met with importers and traders of Anambra extraction at the Governor’s Lodge, Awka.
The meeting which was held at the instance of Gov Willie Obiano, was attended by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, his Women Affairs Counterpart, Mrs Aisha Alhassan, Members of the National and State Assemblies from the state, captains of industries amongst others.
Prof Osinbajo had acknowledged that Anambra constitutes the hot bed of industrial and commercial activities in the country, and said the initiative to grant the manufacturers access to funds was in line with the policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to do more backward integration so as to reduce the nation’s heavy dependence on importation.
According to him, that is the way to go in view of the present economic recession which he noted was caused by shortage of foreign exchange due to fall in oil prices but made worse by the bombings of oil facilities by militants in the SouthSouth areas of the country.
The Vice President however noted that all hope were not lost as the Federal Government was presently negotiating with NigerDelta leaders to end the bombings and bring the country’s oil production capacity back to normal.
Prof Osinbajo urged the business community in the state not to be discouraged by the harsh economic situation in the country but to keep the spirit alive and continue to promote peace as according to him, no meaningful advancement can take place in an atmosphere of strife.
While welcoming the Vice President and other guests, Gov Obiano explained that his administration was doing its best for industrialists in the State because of their strategic role in boosting the state’s Gross Domestic Product through wealth and employment generation.
He noted that the manufacturing sector alone accounts for over 82,000 employment opportunities in the state, the governor observed that if they are not supported and they shut down, the negative effect will be disastrous for the state and the country, hence the essence of the meeting.