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BY: GREG IWU

,The Imo Awareness Coalition, IAC, has advised Imo State Governor elect, Hon Emeka Ihedioha on how he can rescue the economic downturn within three months that has led to impoverishment and hunger that has ravaged the people of the State in the last eight years.

The IAC in a statement signed by its President, Emmanuel Okwu, said the State is in economic distress and therefore need proactive economic actions to save the people from agonizing hunger.

The group argued there is urgent need to ensure cash flow in the system, calling for not only granting autonomy to the Local Governments but also ensure full allocation get to the Councils

“The local governments were economically dead in the State in the last eight years. Their allocations were tampered with and this led to stifling economic activities at the hinterlands

“ It is not enough to grant the LGAs autonomy as assured by the Governor Elect when there is no financial autonomy or independence. There must be sufficient funding of the local governments which will open up the hinterlands to economic activities that will go long way to reduce over reliance and pressure on the State Government”

The IAC further said the Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals of government in the State also need to be revived and funded adequately to undertake and execute government projects and policies in line with due process

“ Most government Ministries ceased to function in the last eight years. What we witnessed was over centralization of power and at Government House.  The Local governments and Ministries are arteries of the State Government. When they cease to function at optimum levels and starved of funds, money fails to circulate and this could lead to redundancy in government activities and affect  the economy

It stated that the incoming administration should also place emphasis on payment of backlog of salaries and pensions of pensioners with an eye on enforcing the 30, 000 minimum wage approved by the Federal Government for workers.

“The inability of the outgoing government to pay promptly workers salaries and pensions of pensioners are major flaws of the outgoing government that swelled discontent among the populace. This to a large extent restricted funds flow in a State the economy is public service driven.

“Emphasis should be placed on re- directing the Imo economy to be private sector driven which will invariably attract and encourage Direct Local and Foreign investments propelled by active players in the private sector in the country and beyond.

The IAC explained that cash flow worsened in the State when commercial hubs in the State such as markets were destroyed without adequate compensation to victims, calling on the incoming government to direct its energy towards strengthening “commercial hubs” and other vital sectors of the economy that will ensure funds flow.

“ In the long run, we propose a radical approach to industrialize the State which will create an economic window to assimilate the frightening number of unemployed youths in the State. Small and Medium Enterprises are propellers of a growing economy and adequate support is imperative to this sector is pivotal to the overall turn around of the State economy.

The IAC advised  for financial discipline on the part of the incoming government in the face of fluctuating oil prices and called for prgamtic approach to revive critical sectors of the economy such as Education, Health, Agriculture just as it advocated for aggressive measures to boost Internal Generated Revenue, IGR.

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