Few days ago, the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while commissioning the Digital Shoemaking Facility at Ogbunike alongside Governor Willie Obiano, confessed that Anambra is one of the fast growing commercial and industrial hubs in Nigeria. It would also be recalled that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had revealed, in one of its published surveys, that Anambra is the state with the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria.
Furthermore, Economic and Management experts have, variously, inferred that performance indicators show that since Governor Willie Obiano came on board, Anambra has fared better and towered higher in the scheme of things in Nigeria. Sir Willie has comparatively done many things positively different from others.
Obiano has shown a great leadership promise that deserves applause. At inception, his Vision Statement of making Anambra State the first choice investment destination and the most preferred location to site new industries and his MISSION of creating a socially stable, business-friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth creating opportunities in the State, showcases a proactive leader that is determined to fight unemployment.
Anambra does not receive much from the federation account because it is not treated as an oil-producing state and it does not receive much from the organized private sector in form of taxes and levies like Lagos and Ogun states; neither does it get special privileges from the Federal Government, yet it constantly comes tops in all kinds of competitions and performance assessments by respected national and international bodies. Happily, the governor announced recently that the Federal Government had accepted to add Anambra in the league of oil producing states.
Realists believe that this shows that the State has more than a government which manages resources prudently but is also blessed with committed and visionary leadership. As the eight most populous state in Nigeria and second most densely populated after Lagos, Anambra has lived up to its billing as a state with immense resources, characterized by people who carry on a most animated businesses.
Relatively, Anambra State’s employment performance came to no one as a surprise despite glaring disadvantages which the state faces. Anambra remains the first state to pay both workers and pensioners before the end of every month throughout the federation, and this religious payment enables money to circulate within the state as markets and self-employed people recover their investments easily.
Currently, Anambra has the lowest poverty index, the highest growth rate of manufacturing outfits in Nigeria and the highest growth of import substitute in rice and vegetable production in Nigeria. The state has the lowest loan and debt exposure. Anambra is currently involved in the building of new cities planned to meet the standard of any modern city in the world.
It would be recalled that Anambra was one of the five states identified by the Federal Government for a great improvement in the ease of doing business in the country, winning the first prize in the annual assessment of states which promote small and medium enterprises. The massive influx of investments in the last seven years, worth about six billion dollars could be ascribed to the new reputation of Anambra as the country’s safest and most peaceful state.
Anambra has the largest livestock in the Southeast, just as it has become one of the biggest rice producers and processors in Nigeria, even helping states like Lagos and Kebbi with rice milling. Yam, bitter leaf, pumpkin leaf, dried fish, egusi, spices and other foodstuffs from Anambra State are exported to Europe and the United States. Shoes and sandals will soon join the league.
Governor Obiano equally brought the Vice President last week to commission the Agu-Awka sbu power station. Thus, electricity supply has increased tremendously in the state. Night life, due largely to the dazzling street lights, provide more jobs for people. All these mean, not just money for the people, but meaningful employment, hence the state’s lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria.
Moreover, industrial sector is the largest employer of labour in any society. No wonder why Akpokuedike made it one his development pillars. Above, all, most of Governor Obiano’s political appointees are youths. Understandably, youths are the most vulnerable in terms of unemployment.