A watchdog, Imo Awareness Coalition, has lamented on soaring cost of living in the State, which has subjected Owerri residents to intense hardship.
In a statement in Owerri and signed by its spokesman, Fidelis Echendu, the Watchdog said cost of living in Imo State is rated the highest in the South East zone and has been worsened by the hike in price of fuel.
A litre of petrol in Owerri and environs sells between N200- N250 naira and much higher at the black market.
The hike in feul price began after the Independent Petroleum marketers in the state suspended a 2 day strike, vowing to resume the strike if the State government fails to address their complaints.
The Watchdog said “the hike in fuel price has increased the frightening living conditions in Imo State.
It continued “Soaring cost of House rents, escalating prices of food stuffs, and unending rise in the price of petroleum products has led to hike in transport fares.
“It has been the trend in the State in the past one year with the Ease of Doing Business becoming extremely difficult.
“This is aggravated by decaying infrastructure, inaccessible roads, underdevelopment of the rural areas, little or no access to basic amenities by greater majority of the populace, lack of policy direction by government in key sectors such as Education, Health and Agriculture, because of non appointment of Commissioners and other aides in the past five months
According to the Watchdog “This has culminated to a slow snail economy with little prospects for growth.
“The National Bureau for Statistics, NBS, had rated Imo State, the unemployment capital of Nigeria, with more than 50 percent of Imo youths hit by unemployment.
“Imo State is a public service driven state. The state workforce is ill motivated with marginal complains of non payment of salaries by some workers
The watchdog called on Governor Hope Uzodimma, to take proactive steps to halt “ the steady decline in living conditions in the state, which is gradually becoming intense and unbearable”