Thursday, April 28, 2016 9:22 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Rivers State Government says it has saved N1 billion in salaries and wages bill through the current Biometric verification for all civil servants and public officers in the State.
The government noted that the exercise which is still ongoing is expected to save more money for the State Government and correct the bloated salary wage bill.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who disclosed this Thursday, at the first Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce Business Luncheon held at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre, said the State Government has also reduced current overhead expenditure to 40 percent in keeping with the prevailing economic reality.
Governor Wike, represented by his Deputy Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo said efforts are being made to enable Government generate enough funds to address infrastructural decay in roads, hospitals, schools and to ensure adequate social services for the people of the State.
He explained that in the face of dwindling federal allocation and steep commodity price fall, the Government is committed to shoring up its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to meet developmental needs of the State.
The State Chief Executive said the present administration has a deliberate policy to eradicate multiple taxation to encourage investors stressing that to achieve the purpose, it has set up a Tax Appeal Commission.
“We are committed to promoting commercial agriculture as a means of creating employment opportunities for the teeming Youths. We shall focus would be on oil palm and cassava production which will also improve the economy of the State.” He asserted.
Chief Wike assured investors of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, pointing out that the security challenges are being tackled with the support of security Agencies to ensure the protection of life and property throughout the State.
He lauded the leadership of PHCCIMA for providing a platform for discussion, with the theme: Business Opportunities in Nigeria, Beyond oil and The Ease of Doing Business in Rivers State, pledging to collaborate with the body to ensure that the State returns to its former glory as investors’ haven.
Earlier, President, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce Mines and Agriculture (PHACCIMA), Dr. Emi Membere Otaji, said Nigerian economy has been over stressed as a result of over dependence on the Oil sector and called for urgent diversification.
He noted that there was need for Government to embark on massive sensitization and education of investors on the ease of doing business in the State.
In his paper, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Mr. Isaac Okemini, said the State was regaining its investment haven status, as Government effort in tackling the issues of insecurity and building of more road network in the State is yielding positive results.
The keynote Speaker, Mr. Foluso Philips, remarked that the Country’s over- dependence on Oil has robbed it of her creative prowess as the Nation now solely depend on Oil to survive.
The event also featured the unveiling of the Commerce Port Harcourt Magazine by the Deputy Governor and an award of Excellence to Governor Wike by PHCCIMA.