From TOBY CHUKS, Onitsha
As the people of Anambra State continue to bask in the euphoria of the success of the just concluded governorship election won by former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, an industrialist and Chairman/CEO of MACDON Group of Companies, Chief Mike Emerah, has called on the Governor-elect to get ready to bring his expertise to bear on revenue services in the State with a view to flushing out touts and those milking the treasury of the state for selfish purposes from revenue services.
Speaking yesterday on the people’s expectations of the Governor-elect in a chat with AbeyaNews in Onitsha, the commercial city on the Niger, Emerah decried the method of revenue collection in Anambra State, describing as crude and unacceptable “the way touts parade tickets and demand payment of this and that from motorists, traders, market women and wheel-barrow pushers in the markets and at motor-parks and bus-stops.”
He wondered why the job of revenue collection should be left in the hands of touts, emphasizing that the involvement of touts in revenue collection “is an indication of corruption and economic sabotage.”
Emerah blamed the menace on “the revenue agents contracted by the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry in charge of markets for the crude way they have been going about revenue collection”, noting that “the Commissioners in charge of the above ministries shouldn’t allow agents to use touts as revenue collectors.”
The industrialist alleged that in most cases, the Commissioners themselves were involved in the business of revenue collection through revenue agents who make returns to the them, to enable such commissioners issue out letters of authority to the agents who now use touts for collection.
“Soludo has to stop the crude way of revenue collection in Anambra State and ensure adequate supervision of the activities of Ministries of Transport and Markets to prevent corruption and economic sabotage,” Chief Emerah declared. “He has to ensure that the revenue of the State is safe, secured and used for the purpose of executing development projects in education, healthcare and roads, among others.”
Emerah also drew the attention of the Governor-elect to the plight of investors and industrialists in the State, advising that Soludo must make good his promise to take good care of investors in the State, especially the existing investors, to enable them sustain, expand and create more jobs, saying it was necessary for the incoming Governor to first take care of the already existing investors in the State before seeking fresh investors from outside the State.
“The clamour for investors into the State is a welcome development, but attention has to be given to us that are existing so that we can expand and churn out more jobs. We need government’s support for sustenance and expansion,” he surmised.