<strong>REFORMING AND MODERNIZING MARKETS IN ANAMBRA STATE; A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION</strong>

The recent dissolution of 30 caretaker committees, replacement of leadership for two markets that emerged via flawed elections, and the reconstitution of new leadership for these affected markets made up of acceptable individuals by the Anambra State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, are not only commendable but timely.

For long, Anambra State was saddled with a market system that is out of sync with the current realities of how modern markets operate around the world.

Apart from the absence of basic facilities within these markets in Anambra such as adequate parking spaces, conveniences, proper waste management, and drainage system, as well as health facilities to handle emergencies, the markets also suffer from space constraints occasioned by the activities of traders who abhor the need to own shops in the market but chose to continually obstruct both human and vehicular traffic.

This situation is further compounded by the regular emergence of all manner of illegal structures at unauthorized locations within the market space constantly. All these are catalysts for environmental disasters that have continued to visit these markets regularly.

While the Government is now taking steps to begin the process of conducting transparent, free, and fair elections through the option A4 method, there is an urgent need for the soon to be elected leaders of the affected markets to ensure that they follow the blueprint of the state government for markets management, organization and accountability consistently as expected.

The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) wishes to propose the constitution of independent committees comprising members of the respective City Chambers where these markets are located, government-appointed members, and representatives from professional bodies, and members engaged in serious and visible business activities in each market to oversee the election processes to ensure that they are free, fair and credible. Furthermore, the Chamber wishes to propose the adoption of 3-year single tenure or duration for the various market leadership positions. This will deter individuals with a sit-tight mentality from continuing to contest and obstruct peaceful change of leadership, and also ensure that only individuals focused on transforming the market in line with the blueprint of the State Government emerge.

As the administration of His Excellency, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo begins to take shape, the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA), as the voice of the Organized Private Sector in Onitsha, remains committed to partnering with his Excellency to drive the necessary policies that would re-invent Onitsha in particular and Anambra State in general and place them in a prime position as the business destination of choice for both local and foreign investors.

The optimal development of Onitsha and Anambra State is critical as this would attract the required investment which neighboring states like Delta are likely to leverage if we fail to make Anambra an investment destination.

Policies encouraging investment in 5 Star Hotels, especially in areas around the bank of the River Niger which are suitable for waterfront relaxation spots and boat rides would attract more visitors and high net worth individuals whose activities would go a long way in boosting the economy of the state.

May His Excellency succeed, may Anambra State succeed.

Chief Kevin U. Obieri, FCA, FCTI

President, ONICCIMA

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