Monday, February 01, 2016

Anambra: Surviving the ailing national economy

THE health of a government is largely a measure of the ingenuity of its driver in appropriately decoding the vari­ables in the macro economy of the surrounding political environment. It is dependent on the skillful deployment of aspects of the larger economy to background, intersect and complement the economic nuances of the referenced domain. The ability to harness usable possibilities in the context of militating odds summarises Anambra's thriv­ing economy in the face of a nation that runs cycles ratio­nalizing otherwise spasmodic impulses in the theatrics of stemming corruption.

Anambra State enjoys none of the jumbo receipts from the Federation Account derivable from either oil privileg­es, federal assisted ventures domiciled in select states in Nigeria, or from the beneficence of a willfully overbearing and very often arbitrary Presidency. Though the state has a verifiable endowment in oil and gas; though it mentors a refinery that posts indigenous ownership, Anambra is yet to enjoy accruals from membership of oil producing states. It still suffers formal exclusion from the comity of petrol states, despite an official declaration of former President Goodluck Jonathan effecting that the state has not only struck oil but hosts a refinery in Aguleri, Anam­bra East Local Government Area. Regardless of these limitations and despite the crippling effects of dwindling oil price across Nigeria, Anambra State Government has continued to discharge its obligations to the citizens and residents of the state.

This is for the simple reason that the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, maintains proactive response to the de­mands of governance, particularly in relation to the state's economy. He considers the economy the fulcrum of any government, determined to attain success in ensuring bet­ter life for the people. Chief Obiano assumed office with an economic blueprint tailored towards grooming the economic activities in the state to compete favourably with thriving economies across the globe. The imperative of the 4pillar development agenda of Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade & Commerce and Oil & Gas which formed the kernel of the governor's inaugural address March, 2014, is the upholding of private and public entrepreneurship as the bedrock of his dream for a vibrant and sustainable economy in the state. Chief Obi­ano opted for providing all the economic enablement that will facilitate a comprehensive growth of a private sector driven state economy. This provoked 'economic enablers' as a popu­lar entrant into the register of discourses on Anambra state. The enablers include improved security, road infrastructure, health, education, improved power supply and provision of other vital utilities which are prerequisites for optimal performance of the economy. In less than two years of its inception, Obiano ad­ministration has continued to improve on its gains in providing the various enablers.

Anambra State, for instance, has not only shed the notoriety of a crime endemic environment, it has maintained a steady rise in its profile as a business-friendly economic enclave with one of the least incidences of crime, despite the large volume of business activities and the attendant daily huge cash turnover. The security alert in the state sounded loud and clear within two weeks of this regime with Chief Obiano's convocation of a crit­ical Security Summit. This engendered the security mapping of the state, taking into cognizance crime flashpoints and the pe­culiarities of the challenges in the state. The State Government has continued to deploy enormous strategic energy in logistics which underscores Governor Obiano's passionate commit­ment towards improving and safe guarding lives and property in the state. In less than two years the government has provided hundreds of fully equipped security vehicles to the police and other vital security groups operating in the state. This, with the governor's favourable disposition to workers' welfare, has translated to the brilliance Anambra shows in crime control.

With assurances of safety early in the administration, Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agen­cy, ANSIPPA, was constituted to drive high profile invest­ments in the state. This one-stop-shop for prospective inves­tors has continued to facilitate a steady influx of investments into the state. With its superintending over well above $3bn investment portfolios in the state, ANSIPPA enjoys core rel­evance in Chief Obiano's scheme for a self-sustaining econ­omy. The revolution that this agency anchors, particularly in agriculture and industrialization, became clearer to me after an engaging discussion with a crop of informed analysts in wealth creation whose conviction that the multiplier effects of the steadily increasing corporate participation in agricul­ture and industries in Anambra in four years would propagate economic tourism in the state was relentless.

As an experienced investment banker who advised, men­tored and managed blue chip international investments in the past, Chief Obiano pried into time and foresaw possible pains of laying his hope of state administration solely on receipts from Abuja. In less than two years of the administration, the state Internally Generated Revenue has grown well beyond N2bn from the pre-Obiano optimum. This has been made possible through means which include plugging leakages and encouraging taxable persons and bodies to meet their civic obligation to the state. The increasing presence of prom­ising businesses in the state is a vital sign that the governor's dream for greater internal receipts is unarguably in sight.

With this economic mix and the administrative expertise of Chief Willie Obiano, Anambra State has remained among the very few elite states in Nigeria which fairly grapple with the financial demands of state administration.

Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu

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