Worried by infrastructural decay and poor condition of roads, which have adversely affected commercial activities in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, a group, the Abia Think Tank Association (ATTA), has advocated a tripartite funding arrangement to tackle the problem.
This arrangement, according to the President of ATTA, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, would involve Abia State Government on one hand and the multilateral funding agencies such as the World Bank, ADB, IMF, IFC, ECOWAS Bank and the private sector on the other hand.
Ohuabunwa who stated this while declaring open the second Aba Summit in the commercial city said with this arrangement, government could use creative ways to spearhead a funding regime by creating Abia Development Fund (ADF).
He said that government could leverage on ADF to invest in infrastructural development of the state through the issuance of bonds with coupons recoverable over a period of time.
“ADF can be institutionalised with its own independent Board of Trustees. Abians in the Diaspora can be encouraged to invest a part of their wealth in Abia as government creates a pot of incentives to attract investors.”
Ohuabunwa further stated that, “there is a prime and urgent need for a tripartite funding involving Abia State Government, multilateral agencies and private sector investors to champion a radical and massive infrastructural reconstruction of Aba.”
He said ATTA, which was made up of committed and passionate Aba intellectuals and professionals decided to hold the summit which ended on Friday to generate robust and vibrant ideas that would help to harness the economic potentials of Aba to shore up the economic fortune of Abia and neighbouring states.
According to him, for Aba to be restored to its former economic glory and be transformed into a modern industrial and commercial city with global influence requires a strong partnership that would ignite financial support which, he stated, was what the summit was driving to achieve.
He said as a practical step, his association had opened a functional office in Aba with a view to interfacing with all stakeholders including organised private sector such as ACCIMA, ALAIN, NASSI, SMEDAN and NASME.
“Abia Think Tank is entering into working collaboration with Abia State Polytechnic, Abia State University and other corporate bodies on enrichment programme, offering lectures on hands-on practical approach to running modern businesses and mentorship on entrepreneurship for SMEs as well as education on effective participation in good governance.
“On our own part, we will invest in the area of economic sharing, giving of advice because many are doing business and are not making any headway and we will come to help through advice,” he said.
Governor Theodore Orji, represented by one of his commissioners, Don Ubani, noted some of the problems his government encountered in returning Aba to its lost glory and hoped that if an Ngwa man becomes governor of the state next year, Aba would be given the desired facelift.
He promised that his government would partner ATTA to meet some of its aspirations.
Some of the participants who spoke with Daily Sun bemoaned the poor network of roads and level of infrastructural decay in the city, which, they said, had adversely affected their businesses.
The summit, which has as its theme, “Aba as the Centrepiece of Abia Economic Renaissance,” was attended by many speakers who harped on the need for government to provide the enabling environment for business to thrive.
Source : SunOnline