An Abuja-based human rights activist, Obiora Omeje, has said the next governor of Enugu State must move the state out of its “current poverty index.”
Omeje in a statement made available to our correspondent on Saturday said Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuayi’s successor should be an industrialist with a strong economic team.
He suggested that the incoming governor must put in place a strong economic team “to save the state from being listed among the poorest state in the country.”
Referring to National Bureau of Statistics data on Enugu State as of 2019, he said, “The Poverty Index Rate of some states was based on basic fundamental infrastructure and social amenities such as roads, health, education, living standard, etc.
“Out of the 20 poorest states in Nigeria, Enugu ranked 11th among them.
“With Enugu coming second as poorest southeastern state after Ebonyi, with a poverty level of 58.19%, it is necessary for the next governor to consider improving the state’s source of income by improving its internally generated revenue and allowing investors to come in with initiatives to industrialise the state, which will eventually create more employment.”
Describing the situation as unacceptable, he said “the Coal City is blessed with numerous resources, including resourceful youths that are spread across the 17 local government areas.”
He lamented that “Several roads in the state are in bad shape, with the insecurity problems now posing a threat to economic activities. With all these challenges, it is unarguable that it will be unattractive for foreign investors, and will certainly reduce the growth of the Internally Generated Revenue.”
He advised that the IGR of the state could be improved through land reforms, review of taxation, security of lives and properties, boosting of tourism, building a tech hub with the recently signed start-up bill and resource control.