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Monday, March 05, 2018

I Relocated My Head Office From Porthacourt To Anambra To Answer The ‘Aku Luo Uno’ Call - Prince Emeka Igwe.


Prince Emeka Igwe, a refined young man from Umuogbu, Awka, in Anambra State,  who is into Downstream Oil and Gas and consultancy. A philanthropist who has a lot going for him, share his thoughts  in an interview with Fides Magazine and AnambraBlog,  about the ‘Think Home’ philosophy of Governor Obiano, Anambra huge potentials, youth empowerment, IGR improvement and many more.


Excerpt:

FIDES: Can we meet you Sir?

IGWE: My name is Emeka Igwe from Anambra State, Umuokpu Village precisely, based both in Portharcourt and Awka. I am Electrical and Civil Engineering contractor with dealings in downstream Oil &Gas and consultancy.

FIDES: As a successful business man, do you think Anambra have potentials that can bring investors down here?

IGWE: Ofcourse, there are huge potentials in the state. The governor has done a lot in the past 4 years. He’s working on roads, education, and agriculture especially. He’s turn the state into an investment hub, so investors have a lot to look forward to.

FIDES: In what area do you think the effort of the state government can be complimented? 

IGWE:  The governor needs support in man power. People need to rally around him and throw up ideas. There is this thing he is trying to do in Agriculture, that is gets people to come back because he is giving free land. And people need to invest. 

When it comes to tax, some ndi Anambra have their offices in Lagos. So what happen  is that the money that is brought to Anambra state from the federal purse,  don’t stay here, it leaves the state to other states. That’s what Lagos is feeding on. Let’s say the state gets money from the federal purse and it pays contractors. The contractors take these monies, go to Lagos and build houses.

So that money does not remain here, it goes out. But if they have their offices in Anambra, it means they have to come here, not in Lagos. They will be paying their taxes here and in that way they can still live in Lagos but their taxes will come here. Lagos won’t have any right to say pay it here because their head office is in Anambra from CAC. That’s what I did, I went to CAC, changed my head office from Porthacourt to Anambra, so I pay my tax here.

So if that is done, you find out that when money comes to the state, it remains in the state and make the state Liquid. And another thing I noticed here is that most people don’t pay tax, they avoid it. I don’t know the reason why but I think the state needs awareness. They need do more on awareness like Lagos state is doing.

So Anambra needs to work more on its IGR, that’s the only way they can meet up. I applaud the governor because he does not owe salary. Imagine paying a salary of about 2billion and you are earning about that same amount and yet you still have money to run the state, do roads and pay other bills. He is doing a lot.




FIDES: I understand you played significant role in increasing the State IGR sometime ago,  can you throw more light on your specific role?

IGWE: I was involved in that between June 2015 and early 2016. What I was doing was collecting revenue from tipper drivers in the state. I created the pay direct system where agents pay directly to the government, so money does not go to the individuals.  I noticed that leakages were found everywhere. You know when somebody brings bulk money to your house and drop it for you, once you have needs, you take money from it and people are not accountable to that. So I had to cancel it and make sure that payment is done directly to the state account. And it increased greatly, from about 900,000 a month to 35million.

FIDES: One of the problems of the country is youth restiveness and unemployment. You are into youth empowerment, how far have you gone in putting smile on the faces of these youths?

IGWE: Well, I have been here since September 2017  and I have been interacting with lots of youths. As a matter of fact, I just have the youth leader of Awka South with me a moment ago before you arrived. What  I have been trying to do is find out what their needs are. I found out that there are a lot of skilled youths in this state. People that are creative, more especially when it comes to IT and stuffs like that.

In 2015, I employed over 1200 youths from the state who are working for me. If we engage our youths you find out that crime will drop and a lot of things will come down. Once we attract industries to the state, as the governor is doing, employment will be generated.

FIDES: In what areas have you empowered these youths?

IGWE: Like from what I do personally, that is haulage, dredging, civil engineering work, I have about 150 people directly employed in Anambra state. Indirectly, ofcourse, it is huge and that is why I am pleading with  ndi Anambra to key into the governors ‘Think Home’ philosophy. When they come here you find out that our people will stop running out of the state to Lagos and other part of the country.

FIDES: The government has been talking about the ‘Think Home’ project but do you think the governor has done enough to provide the enabling environment for those who may wish to return home and invest?

IGWE: Yes, the governor has done tremendous job as regards to that and security is one of them. Four years ago, I couldn’t travel down here but I have been here now since September. The security in this state I must say is one of the best, if not the best in the country. He’s doing the light up Anambra. Lightening reduces crime at night, everybody knows that. Power might need to improve and it is so unfortunate that power has been privatized.

FIDES: The process of acquiring land in the state, to your own assessment, is it stiff?  

IGWE: I don’t think the process is stiff. It is not stiff. River state has gone digital, anambra state is going digital and I know sometimes you wait for years before you get C/O in Rivers.  But here in Anambra, it is not like that , you get a C/O within a month or two. That’s if you are buying the land. But if you are talking about acquiring land from the government for industrial purposes, I don’t think it is difficult.

FIDES: How would you rate the unemployment situation in the State?

IGWE: Unemployment is biting hard everywhere in the country, it is a general thing but the situation in Anambra State is not that bad because ndi Anambra like to own their own businesses and be their own bosses. They are naturally hard workers.

FIDES: The governor just won an election for 2nd term, what areas do you think he needs to improve upon?

IGWE: The governor has done so well in his first tenure; he only needs to consolidate on that. I believe he has said there is need to increase the IGR, that’s one area I trust he will be improving on. I believe the State is capable of hitting over 10billion a month in IGR, I strongly believe that. 

FIDES: What do you think are the snags stopping the state from hitting top figure in IGR?

IGWE: I would say that the snags are strong characters, if that area is given to people with strong characters, they would be able to block the leakages. The money is already in circulation, the money is there, so it takes people with strong character to ensure that the money goes to the state treasury and not to individuals. I strongly believe the governor is ensuring that.

FIDES: If you were asked by your people to serve them in any political capacity, are you willing?

IGWE: Sure, yes I will gladly

FIDES: Is it okay then to say that you are warming up for something soon?

IGWE: Well, probably, am thinking about it and making consultation. All you need to know is that I have  passion for my State.


By Emmanuel Aniagoh

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