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One of the set backs to attracting private, foreign and indigenous investments to any country or State is the lack of EASE OF DOING BUSINESS. This manifests in bureaucratic bottlenecks, rigorous land acquisition, ownership and management procedures, dearth of infrastructures, tax burdens, poor remittances to home origins of investments and, in recent times in our clime, community and youth restiveness.

The Government of Imo State,in an attempt to attract investments and diversify the industrial base of the state has come out with it's Ten Year Industrial Development Master Plan.The EASE OF DOING BUSINESS POLICY graces every gamut of  the plan. This policy ,to a very large extent, seeks to remove or minimize the bottlenecks of industrialization. It is the desire of the Government of Imo State that this will attract the needed industries and businesses that have the capacity to reduce youth unemployment and increase the prosperity of Imo people.

THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS POLICY provides the template for creation of conduciveness in the regulatory environment to business operations. It evaluates factors such as starting a business, accessing the provenance of lands to be acquired, getting permits, especially in lands, mining, construction, agriculture, housing, works, getting electricity, assessing and paying taxes, enforcing contracts and resolving business disputes.

It is a well known fact that countries or states with simplified EASE OF DOING BUSINESS POLICY attract more investments,both local and international. These investments in turn create jobs,boosts productivity and stimulate  the overall economic activity. By streamlining processes and procedures and reducing  bureaucratic hurdles, governments  encourage entrepreneurship and innovation leading to more dynamic business environment .

Apart from this, the EASE OF DOING BUSINESS POLICY lowers levels of corruption. When business can easily navigate regulatory procedures, there is low incentive for corruption. Transparent and efficient processes reduce the opportunities for rent seeking government officials, benefitting both businesses and society at large.

Other benefits of EASE OF DOING BUSINESS POLICY in Imo state include product improvement, expansion of markets and enhancement of competitiveness. 

When businesses find it easier to operate, they are more likely to comply with tax payments,which in turn broadens the tax base, increase Internally Generated Revenue( IGR), eventually translating into better funding of projects and public services, infrastructure development; further contributing to economic development and prosperity for the people.

To achieve these , the state government under the leadership of Senator Hope Uzodimma, CON , has put out reforms in land administration (through the established of Imo Geographic Agency) and streamlined regulations for land acquisition.

The zero corruption stand of Governor Hope Uzodimma is one of the avowed Pillers of EASE OF DOING BUSINESS. This, we all know, has attracted resistance from vested interests, cabals, politicians and even bureaucrats. The insecurity in the land is not far fetched from  this especially in all 

the efforts to recover public misappropriated assets. Internal betrayals and sabotage by appointees of government have turned a sour spot in this resolve.

Other areas touched by the government include: 

- streamlining business registration including online registration which the Corporate Affairs Commission has implemented.

- Simplifying taxation and tax codes,reducing the number of taxes , routing illegal tax collectors from the roads and markets and making tax compliance easier.

- Improving the efficiency and transparency of the judicial system especially in contract enforcements and effective justice administration.

- Facilitating trade through improved infrastructure and road network. The Owerri -ORLU dual carriage way is a testament. Also, the Owerri -Okigwe express way, the Owerri -Umuahia road and other arteries of roads criss crossing the length and breathe   of Imo state are all geared towards ease of doing business in Imo state. 

-The building of three new  hospitals and upgrades of existing ones, the health insurance  scheme that gives medical access to the populace, the improvement in the status of civil servants who form the bed rock of the state bureaucrats etc are all geared to improving THE EASE OF DOING BUSINESS in Imo state 

- Simplifying permits in building through the Capital Development Authority ( OCDA),  Ministry of Works, Lands , Housing and  Judiciary.  

Labour relations has been top notch, civil service reforms and payment of salaries and pensions as and when due .

- promoting digitization, embracing digital technology to streamline government services, reduce paper work,enhance transparency,  minimize sleaze  especially in salary and pension administration, land management and records maintainance.

The State governments commitment and efforts have started yielding results already. Approval for the dredging of the River Niger from Oguta to the Ocean when completed will increase trade and employment. Again ,the approval for the establishment of a FREE TRADE ZONE , is a testimony to the good outcome of a good policy .

In conclusion, the EASE OF DOING BUSINESS POLICY and subsequent reforms going on in Imo State are targeted to create a conducive and more business friendly environment,attract investments,  stimulate economic growth and deliver greater prosperity to Imo people.

As the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has  embraced his second tenure of another four years in the saddle of governance, Imo State will begin to see the impact of this policy, built on political will and love for the prosperity of the people. 

IMO State will be better for it.

 Ishibude Emeka Enyinnia, Ph.D

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