The Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU) has commended Governor Willie Obiano on Anambra’s emergence as the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the country based on the 2020 survey published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) three days ago which shows that only 13.1 per cent out of the 2. 25 million working people in the state are unemployed in a nation where the national average unemployment rate is 27.1 per cent.
Chief Alex I. Onukwe, ASATU national president, made the commendation in a letter to the Anambra State governor which he sent to journalists in Awka, the state capital, this morning.
He declared: “Our state 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.
“This shows that Anambra State has more than a government which manages resources prudently but is also blessed with committed and visionary leadership”.
ASATU, which comprises all 179 town development unions in the state, was formed in the late 1980s by a group of distinguished Anambra people led by Chief Arthur Mbanefo, the first Igbo accountant who was to become the chairman of the governing councils of both Obafemi Awolowo University at Ife in Osun State and the University of Lagos before becoming Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations with the restoration of democratic governance in 1999.
The ASATU leader said that 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 on the 24th or 25th of every month enables money to circulate within the state as markets do well and landlords recover their investments in properties and services provided by professionals like lawyers, pharmacists and doctors are paid for”.
Chief Onukwe also thanked the governor for massive promotion of entrepreneurship “in recognition of the fact that Anambra people are born entrepreneurs”.
He recalled that Anambra was one of the five states identified by the Federal Government last year 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 held at State House, Abuja, on August 1, 2019, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presiding.
The ASATU president general noted the massive influx of investments into the state in the last six years worth between four and five billion dollars and ascribed it to the Anambra’s new reputation as the country’s safest and most peaceful state.
He stated: “Anambra State today has the largest livestock in the whole Southeast, thanks to Lynden Livestock, 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.
“Firms like Coscharis Farms, Stine Rice Mill, Anambra Rice Mill, Coscharis Rice Mill and Tiger Foods Ltd now dot the state’s agro-industrial landscape”.
Chief Onukwe praised the state government for its aggressive export drive.
“Yam, bitter leaf, pumpkin leaf, dried fish, egusi, spices and other foodstuffs from Anambra State are today exported to not just Europe but also the United States in large quantities.
“All these things mean not just money for our people but also meaningful employment, hence the state’s lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria”.
The ASATU leader also commended the Anambra State government’s programme to improve on the state’s entrepreneurial competitiveness “in the context of 21st century development by promoting entrepreneurial education more aggressively and by embracing not just information technology and communication but also the 4th Industrial Revolution.
“This is the way to go in the modern world, and only national and sub national governments which start early can find a bearing in the brave new world unfolding before our very eyes.
“This is why all our people rejoice that the state administration has set up a committee headed by an outstanding and very hardworking economist, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, to develop a strategic plan for Anambra’s emergence as a fully developed economy like Dubai or Taiwan within 50 years.”