Chief Chidi Nkem Aruoma, the President, Umuahia Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (UCCIMA), has lamented the near absence of the “son of the soil” investments in Abia State, particularly in Umuahia city and called for a change of gear towards this.
He challenged Abia investors in the Diaspora, particular those from the Umuahia town, the state capital to think home with the view of conducting their businesses in the city in this COVID-19 era.
Aruoma spoke in an interview with our Reporter in Umuahia on Sunday. He described Abia State as an investment friendly state that is yet to tap its full investment potentials, pointing out that Abia investors can bring development and employment in the city if they bring back their wealth to the state.
He argued that there was no reason why small and medium enterprises should not thrive in a state like Abia where, according to him, the business climate has been made conducive by the Okezie Ikpeazu-led administration.
He therefore asked businessmen and women from Umuahia and its environs not to hesitate in returning home, saying if they conduct feasibility studies on how their business will grow in the town, it will go a long way in making such business prosper.
Said he, “Why must we go and develop other areas and leave our area to suffer industrially? Umuahia needs to have industries; Umuahia is an investment friendly place. Umuahia needs small and medium enterprises in its locality.
“We’re farmers, yet we find it difficult to produce enough due to lack of investment coordination. Why can’t we have investors in the areas of banking, agriculture and other related financial institutions?
“Why can’t we produce items that Umuahia would be identified with; things that people will come back and say yes, this is really made in Umuahia? We all talk of goods made in other places with relish and yet we forget ours”.
The UCCIMA helmsman remarked that with the building of infrastructure by the Okezie Ikpeazu government as well as the improvement of the security situation, investors outside the state should utilize the opportunity and bring in their investments in order to make profit and by so doing attract development and create employment in the capital city.
“What else do we need? His tax relief is good and favourable, couple with the friendly disposition of the people. Everything is being done to promote trade and commerce. We cannot be talking about attracting foreign investments when our people are not investing in our soil.
“Yes, hotels and other tourism and other hospitality sub sectors are being developed, but we need to come here to build other sectors that will enable the tourism sub sector to thrive. This, he remarked, could be achieved by partnering with the state government and Umuahia Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.