The economy of Imo State is bound to receive a major boost as the State Investment Promotion Agency (ISIPA) unfolds plans to attract foreign and local investors whose roles will reposition the state in a post COVID-19 era.
According to the Director General of the Imo State Investment Promotion Agency(ISIPA) Dr. Jude Nzeako, ISIPA’s major challenge is to rehabilitate the agency, which was set up 10 years ago, to drive investment into Imo State, organize the economic sector, monitor investment, collect investment, and assist the government promote investment.
According to a statement by ISIPA spokesman, Dr. Timothy Ihemadu, the Director General during a Road Show to sensitize the populace on its Yellow Pages
said that it is unfortunate that the agency has been moribund all this while.
He stated that, “the event today, is part of the engagements of ISIPA. We are raising awareness on one of our maiden projects, the Imo State Yellow Pages, which is going to be a compendium of all businesses in the state.
“The compendium will improve intelligence gathering on all the businesses in the state and open up international channels. It is also part of our way to ease the process of doing business in the state and at the same time generate revenue for the state.”
Nzeako explained that “with the infusion of life and reactivation of the agency by the State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, ISIPA has no excuse not to key into the mantra of shared and fulfill its statutory mandate.
“We can’t key into the philosophy of shared prosperity if the economy is not doing well or without investments in the state. So we will look at ways to reengineer the economic sector, bring in investors, whether local or international so that we can see a change in Imo State.
“We will position the agency to enhance the internal revenue dynamism of the state government.
“I am confident that the infrastructure and enabling environment will be there for investors to come in. We are guaranteeing investors that the road networks will be further strengthened, in the local government areas, and across the senatorial zones.
“When investment comes, that investment will provide employment, power, good roads, all other hinges that make life worth living. This is what I consider as investment in an ordinary sense.”
The Director General stated that the agency is already looking beyond the gloom of COVID-19 to draw and improve the investment profile of the state.
According to him, “despite its negative impact on economies worldwide, COVID-19 has also left some positive impact on human development. A lot of people have benefited from COVID-19, and many others are yet benefiting, especially those who are prepared.
“It has no doubt affected Imo positively and negatively, depending on where one’s stand point. COVID-19 opened our eyes, opened new chapters, new hopes, new ideas, for people who are willing to think and capitalize on the new opportunities. For these people, COVID-19 would turn out to be a good thing.
“The trick is to look outside the box and look for where there is a need for people with financial capacity and capability. COVID-19 has come to rearrange the global economy and of course new leaders will emerge, new opportunities will surface.
“For example in Imo, COVID-19 has redirected attention and a lot of people are going into farming. It is important we as people begin to think about how to take care of ourselves rather than relying on international handouts. We can farm, we can produce machineries, look at things we can begin to use locally, these are what COVID-19 has done.
“COVID-19 has given us an excuse to think outside the box; begin to believe in ourselves.”
He noted that the government will soon strengthen the internet infrastructure that will enable investors and the public seamlessly key into e-commerce, e-learning, etc.
“In a post COVID-19 era, we will be in a better position to deploy this option.
“We plan to make the economic sector functional and let ISIPA work as a limited liability company. ISIPA is a trading arm of the state government.
“ISIPA is about creating revenue sources and not revenue collector. We will re-engineer some of the revenue sources that are dead to find ways to recreate them to generate more revenue,” he said.