…lauds Govt for making Kwara a commercial hub
By Mike Adeyemi
The Kwara Coalition of Business and Professional Association (KWACOBPA), has launched and unveiled the Kwara State Business Agenda plans.
Speaking on this development, the chairman of KWACOBPA, Dr. Ahmed Raji stated this during a courtesy visit by the association to the Executive Governor of Kwara State.
According to him, ‘the association salute the effort and concerns of the Executive Governor of Kwara State toward making the state a commercial of hub of the North central state.’
“We appreciate the concern of the Executive Governor of Kwara State for the business community in the state. We equally appreciate your Excellency for reconfiguring the business environment in a way to make more friendlier.
“This venue would have been filled up as a demonstration of our members happiness over steps taken so far about making the business climate more conducive and rosy in the state. But COVID-19 pandemic had prevent the manifestation of such idea”.
Raji added that the Kwara Coalition of Business and Professional Association applaud the business ingenuity of the Government of Kwara State toward providing an enabling business environment in the state.
” Your Excellency, the vision of making the state the commercial hub of the North Central is highly commendable.
“Before I go further, let me just brief you about KWACOPBA. It was established in 2011 with the assistance of Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Washington DC, USA. We use the body to support business people and professionals even as we work on ensuring there is improvement in the environment for business to thrive.
“KWACOPBA is poised to promote coherency, constancy and consistency of business policies being formulated and implemented by the government and its agencies. To this effect, the body is determinably driving grassroots advocacy initiative, promote policy reforms and implementation through state business agenda policy presentation, investment and sustainable economic development activities.
“For the above stated reasons, we had engaged in advocacy visits to past state governor, House of Assembly Speaker, commissioners and heads of government MDAs.
“Among the high profile programs we’ve held in the past include Governor’s Debate for candidates of various political parties both in 2015 and 2019. This was done in conjunction with Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and with prime support of CIPE. Your Excellency would recall your invitation to the debate as candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) prior to the voting day in 2019
“The body launched its State Business Agenda in 2016. At the event, the state governor, as guest of honour, was represented by the then Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives,” he said.
“Your Excellency, I don’t need to bore you down with speech. We are equally here today to present to you the prepared State Business Agenda (SBA).
” We once again, appreciate you for your kind gesture. We cannot forget to appreciate your initiation of the paradigm shift in approach to civil governance, which we belief will usher in a better Kwara, the one desired and dreamt by Kwarans.”
Raji, while presenting the 2018 research findings on five priority issues critical for growth and development of business environment in the state, identified robbery, especially highway and bank robberies as major security challenges against business concerns.
The findings presented by Oladeji Ebunlomo, on behalf of the coalition, suggested that government should install 70 solar power circuits at every business area, purchase additional armoured personnel (APC) tanks and 120 security patrol vans that would be equipped with vehicular radio communication system for effective security control.
To combat security challenges, the coalition also called for revival of state joint security patrol outfit, codenamed Operation Harmony, as well as provision of job opportunities for job seekers.
The research findings also identified deplorable road network in the state and called on the state government to reconstruct and complete these Ajase-Ipo-Offa, Share-Lafiagi, Kaiama-Kishi, Omu Aran-Oro Ago and Alapa-Igbeti roads to encourage business environment.
It also called for establishment of business clusters in the state to encourage both local and foreign investors, “as there are no recognised industrial business clusters in the state”, while the coalition also recommended that a standard industrial park be set up, “that will accommodate about 100 industries and laid out with access roads, railway line, high power electricity, gas and water supply”. It also suggested that “The management should be put under PPP, public/private arrangement to guaranty continuity”.
The coalition, which complained of the waste management problem in the state, added that there is ineffective waste collection and evacuation in most parts of the state.
Part of its recommendation is that government should set up dump sites in major cities in the state, noting that private entities should be made to manage it to make it lucrative, stating, “in form of commercialization”.
On tourism development, the coalition identified tourist centres such as Owu Water falls, Arandun Warm spring, Imoleboja Rock Centre, and Asa Dam Inland bridge among others, saying that lack of infrastructural facility like potable water, road and electricity had negatively affected tourism growth in the state.
It, therefore, advised the Kwara state government to collaborate with other stakeholders like ministries of Information, Works and Housing as well as national tourism commission, saying that private organisations should be made to manage the tourist centres.