The governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Otti, has inspected the ongoing reconstruction work on the Enugu-Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway, expressing his satisfaction at the pace of work.
This was just the governor has assured the Nigerian Breweries, Aba of his government’s commitment to creating the right environment for businesses to thrive in the state.
Led by a team of engineers from CCECC, one of the construction companies handling the road reconstruction, Otti inspected the border side at the Rivers State end, down to Alaoji, and the entrance of Ariaria Market in Abia, thanking President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for promptly approving the return to site by the contractors and the Minister of Works, Engr Dave Umahi, for his strong commitment to the completion of the reconstruction of the road, a major artery connecting Abia and Rivers states, which has remained in complete ruins for many years.
The governor who also received in audience the management of Nigerian Breweries Plc, who paid him a business visit, with a promise that his administration will do everything possible to support the NBL and other genuine businesses in the state to remain afloat.
Otti disclosed that his government has reformed the Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, system and introduced the Treasury Single Account, TSA, as well as legislated on multiple taxation, all in the bid to enhance the ease of doing business in the state.
He said, “We are a business-friendly government and we believe there’s only so much the government can do. We have reformed the entire system with respect to internally generated revenue, so that you don’t see people on the streets with clubs chasing citizens and our corporate businesses. We believe that if you appreciate what government is doing, you will willingly pay your tax.
“We have also legislated away multiple taxation, so you pay directly to the government. We will keep doing that, we know there will always be hiccups, people will resist change like these, but at the end of the day they begin to appreciate that what government is doing is better for them and everybody. Our government will do everything possible to support you to remain in Abia. If there is anything we can do as a government, don’t hesitate to call our attention to it.”
The governor encouraged the NBL to be a good corporate citizen and to create more job opportunities for the people, noting that the creation of job is the panacea to reducing insecurity, addinging that a lot of insecurity is fuelled by unemployment and high level of poverty. He promised that his government would look into one of the requests of the NBL team to repair the road leading to the company’s facility.
Earlier in her speech, the Corporate Affairs Director, NBL, Shade Morgan, who led the team, on behalf of the company’s managing director, Mr. Hans Essaadi, informed the governor that the NBL has been operational in the state since 1967, and has continued to invest in the state, adding that the company has been discharging its social corporate responsibilities and has constructed and renovated classroom blocks in many communities in the state, while its community investment in the area of health, water, electricity, had been ongoing.
Commending Otti for introducing the TSA system, which she noted will enhance ease of doing business, she asked the government to grant waiver for NBL trucks, even as she also encouraged government to continue to boost security.
She restated the commitment of the NBL to partnering the state government and highlighted some of the challenges confronting their operations to include poor state of road leading to the company and requested the governor to address the deplorable 1.7-kilometre road to retain investments in the area.