The Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, (SDP), Mr. Okey Eze has described as woeful the dismal performance of Imo State government in terms of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
He made the remark in a Radio programme hosted by My Radio FM 101.1 Friday while answering questions on his political aspirations as well throwing light on the controversial All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) primary election.
In his lamentations, he decried the situation where by the abundance of natural resources in the state and the inherent potential opportunities were allowed to waste. Eze explained that Imo State is the least in IGR among the South Eastern states.
He reeled out that while Imo State picked the rear with a monthly income of N450m Enugu State tops with about N1.9m. This is followed by Anambra 1.5, Abia 1.2 and Ebonyi about 978m. The SDP candidate further described the state as lacking in a coherent revenue culture.
The international and investment banker who described himself as not a career politician but nurses a genuine desire to do things differently said that within his first 100 days in office he will reconfigure the state’s fiscal policy and plug the leaky revenue system.
In spite of this poor outing he continued, the state has had average monthly expenditure of 4.5b naira with 2bn going to service the payroll (remuneration) alone, adding that if we explore our resources ‘we have no business with this thing of poverty, we are prodigiously gifted’’.
The Mbaise born banker warned that the era of arm chair governance bothering on dependence on revenue sharing from Abuja is over. He advised that government should follow global trends lamenting that our undoing is that ‘we don’t’ prepare for anything, instead of running things we allow things to run us’.
Still condemning the state of governance in Imo he remarked that according to the World Bank Survey Imo State is rated 25th out of 36 states in Viability Index while in terms of ease of doing business the state is ranked 30 out of 36.
In response to a question on the APGA incident, he observed that it rankles that an organization would flout its own rule, saying that the party instituted its own rules for the primary election which appropriately should be supervised by the regulator (INEC) but went against itself.
Giving further insights into his government if voted into power, he promised that his blue print will run on activities that will self-generate revenue without any dependence on any hand out.
He further bemoaned lack of corporate governance in the state which he said is non-existent and accounts for why there is no competitive bidding for government projects which is done without due process.
The SDP candidate explained that he will bring back the Public Works Department (PWD) as we use to have it in the past which he said will be charged with the responsibility of maintaining some infrastructure such as roads, adding that our retired engineers from renowned construction giants and engineering graduates will be useful here.