Economy of Ebonyi state must not die —EBCCIMA warns

By AdvocateNews on 10/10/2021

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Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi govt, private sector face-off escalates

The Ebonyi Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (EBCCIMA) has expressed concern over the clash between agents of the State Government and commercial transport operators and owners, following Government’s move to relocate/centralize all motor parks in the state capital. 

Commercial transport operators under the aegis of Association of Mass Transit Operators (AMTO) had suspended their operation in Ebonyi state since Thursday, October 7 on account of their forceful eviction from their parks in Abakaliki metropolis by agents of the state government.

Many mass transit buses were reportedly damaged by those hired to enforce the relocation of the parks forcing the operators to declare an indefinite strike.

Worried by the development which has subjected travelers in the state to an untold hardship, EBCCIMA in a statement signed by its President, Dr Ezeh Emmanuel Ezeh, warned that the state economy should not be allowed to die due to constant clash between government agents and the organized private sector.

Citing the ongoing clash between the state government and commercial transport operators, lockout of traders at the new building materials market and and sundry security challenges in and around the state, EBCCIMA urged the government to resolve the disputes amicably in order to deescalate the rising tension in the state. 

The statement read in part: "While the need for Government’s regulatory roles cannot be overemphasized, it is also important to accommodate the concerns of the transport operators through necessary negotiations and roundtable dialogues.

"Transportation in a fragile economy like ours is a major economic activity that drives other multilayer activities in the society; and there is need for order and decorum in the conduct of the sector vis-à-vis other sectors’ economic activities.

"EBCCIMA is also aware of disagreements existing between government agencies and various other trade groups and market associations in the state. For instance, the present lock-out of traders at the New Building Materials market appears to us a step taken too far.

"The traders having co-operated with government in moving to the new Building Materials market site peacefully, can be asked to pay monthly installment of agreed sums, considering that the economy is presently very tough even for established businesses, not to talk of MSMEs who are virtually living from hand to mouth.

"We urge restraint and encourage continuous dialogue as we collectively strive to move our state forward. It is our belief that roundtable approach to conflict resolution remains most suitable in a democratic setting such as ours, rather than resorting to hard-lines.

"All acts of destruction and violent confrontations are therefore condemned in strongest terms, as they are clearly unrepresentative of who we are as Ndi-Ebonyi.

"We call on the Governor (David Umahi) as the father of the state to take a higher moral ground in this instance and order investigations into all alleged violation of human rights.

"It is very imperative to deescalate rising tensions while the Chamber wades in as the leader of the Organized Private Sector (OPS) for possible mediation in all these cases."

Continuing, the chamber said: "We also use this opportunity to appeal to Ebonyi State Government to remind relevant security agencies manning strategic checkpoints at the various entrance routes into Ebonyi State, especially Abakaliki capital city that we are not at war.

"We understand that the general security situation in the country has become more complex, but this does not warrant a situation where citizens/commuters are forced to trek and match with their hands raised up while approaching check-points.

"These acts must have driven away potential business opportunities from Ebonyi State thereby stifling the already weak economy. The Chamber believes we can actually afford a more business-friendly environment than is presently in place.

"Ebonyi State sits at a very strategic economic corridor of the country and as such, any economic disruption sends a bad message about Nigeria to the international communities especially in this era of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) negotiations.

"We re-emphasize: Ebonyi’s fragile Economy must be saved from this slow and painful death occasioned by constant clash between government agents and organized private sector in the State.

"We are looking forward to quick and amicable resolutions of these issues so that all parties may continue to join hands in moving the state forward."


Posted 10/10/2021 08:05:48 AM


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