1. We are gathered here today, to celebrate vision and a passion for professionalism and effective service delivery.
2. It was a little over four years ago, that we had gathered at this same location, to witness the commencement of commercial operations for Ibom Air.
3. At that time, the airline, had two CRJ 900 Bombardier aircrafts in its fleet. Less than a year after it started operations, three additional CRJ 900 Bombardier aircrafts were added to its fleet, bringing it to five.
4. A year later, the airline further expanded its fleet with the addition of two brand new A220-300 Airbus series, the first of its kind in Nigerian aviation industry, bringing the total fleet to seven.
5. In the course of this period, Ibom Air became the toast of air travelers across Nigeria and a most preferred airline in the country, illuminating and defining the Nigerian airspace with the bright colors of our dear State.
6. At the Dubai Airshow in November 2021, the State Government, led by the visioner of this project and my worthy predecessor, the immediate past Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, CON, signed a contract for the purchase of ten brand new Airbus - A200-300 series. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to welcome to the fleet of Ibom Air, the first of those ten Airbuses we had ordered.
7. Let me use this opportunity to thank our past leaders for the various works they did, to move our dear state from its humble beginnings 36 years ago, at its creation to today, where we are easily ranked as a subnational with easily the best road network and other infrastructural amenities in the nation.
8. Let me particularly celebrate and thank my worthy predecessor for his vision in conceptualizing and breathing life into this pride of Akwa Ibom and pride of Nigeria in the aviation industry, Ibom Air. When this idea was first announced, the usual naysayers had dismissed it as a flash of wishful thinking. But as he always would say: The answer to doubters is success that shocks and confounds. Today, Ibom Air is the leading brand in the Nigerian aviation industry, a mere four years plus after it started commercial operations.
9. Let me at this time, salute the management and staff of this airline for the professionalism and great service delivery it has brought to bear in its operations.
10. Even though this airline is owned 100 percent by the State Government, we have allowed the management to run its operations as a purely private concern and the result, has been the spectacular and phenomenal growth it has recorded so far.
11. In under five years, Ibom Air has expanded its routes to major cities in Nigeria and recently started its commercial operations to Accra, Ghana. Plans are afoot to expand the routes into the East, Central and South African regions.
12. My administration is dedicated to supporting the giant strides the airline has made. We have kept faith with all previous financial obligations entered into, with Airbus, by the immediate past administration and the result of that, is the event we are witnessing today. Government is a continuum. 1st Corinthians chapter 3: 6, captures this critical element of continuity succinctly and I quote from King James Version “ I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase”. We, will in our way, provide the increase. Since we came on board, we have provided the funds for the training of pilots and the deepening of the already first- class Cabin services of the airline.
13. We have done extensive work on the Airside perimeter fencing of the airport, and the continuous funding of the 8.5 km Airside patrol road, which is now ready for commissioning. We have equally continued the funding of the parallel Taxiway Rapid Exit, the Apron Construction, International Terminal Building, the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul ( MRO) facility, the VIP Car Park, Access Road into the Terminal Building and the underground drain alongside the CCTV Control and Command Center.
14. Ibom Air was one of the first places I visited shortly after I was sworn in, and I had assured the management of the commitment of my administration to see to the expansion and growth of the airline. I have also, flown Ibom Air, as its Chief Marketing Officer, and what an exciting and pleasurable moment it was! To the Chief Executive Officer, our dear Captain Mfon Udom, please be kind enough to extend me an invitation to be a part of the inaugural flight on this beautiful aircraft. I will pay for myself and those to accompany me.
16. I want to commend and salute the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, who had assured me, during my recent courtesy call on him, of his willingness to partner with us. I thank you, Sir for your kind assurances .
17. Let me again thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for being a great father of the nation, and for engendering a spirit of bipartisan in our political engagements.
18. Let me also thank the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio , CON, for his support in moving our State forward. Let me also commend and salute the father of modern Akwa Ibom State, Arc (Obong)Victor Attah, whom this airport is appropriately named after, for being the one who started the construction of this airport and mooted the idea for the construction of the MRO. We certainly have been very blessed with great and visionary leaders! I am dedicated to expanding and enlarging, the great works these leaders had started, by the grace of God.
19. To the management and staff of Ibom Air, a great job done, means more work to be done. We have no doubt you will keep rising to the occasion and exceed expectations. Congratulations Ibom Air, congratulations Akwa Ibom State and congratulations Nigeria!
God bless us all
See Pictures Below:
Nigerians from across the country and foreign dignitaries would squeeze into the 30,000-capacity stadium in Uyo on Saturday, December 9, to celebrate the 61st birthday of the Senate President, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio. They will sing, dance, and give thanks to the Almighty for the life and strides of one of the nation’s most charismatic political leaders. Five days later in Abuja, they’d congregate in the Congress Hall of the Hilton Hotel for a national colloquium on Legislative Agenda for National Development to continue festivity. President Bola Tinubu will be there with Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Senate President, who will chair the occasion; while Olisa Agbakoba, eminent lawyer, will give the lecture. Two law teachers, Prof. Abiola Sanni, a University of Lagos professor of commercial lawyer with specialty in tax law and Prof. Joash Amupitan, DVC of UniJos, together with Mr. Tunder Fowler, former FIRS Chairman, will discuss the theme and add their own perspectives. With the country facing serious fiscal crisis, it is not surprising that the discussions would be tilting towards taxation, government’s revenue and how to grow the economy.
In between these two events, many other festivities in Akwa Ibom and across the country are being organized by Akpabio’s friends, political allies and colleagues. In a way, it feels like a big national event. The news is trending in the social media and in Abuja, radio talk shows are playing it up, with some repeating the fake information that the celebrations are being funded from the treasury. Akpabio’s media adviser, Mr. Eseme Eyibo, had earlier debunked the story, originated by Jackson Ude, a Nigerian in Diaspora notorious for spawning untruths about politicians. I have had cause in the past, while serving as media consultant to the Office of the Vice President when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was in the office, to rebut Ude’s fabrications. There’s no prominent family Ude has not assailed. Living abroad gives him some kind of immunity to denigrate others.
Raised by a single mother (his father died even before he was born), Akpabio is from a very modest beginning. He loves to tell his story, lacing it with his civil war childhood, when Nigerian soldiers ransacked his community, killing and maiming, and how difficult it was for him to go to school. Biafra’s second-in-command, Gen. Phillip Efiong, grew up in that community, and so the rebel forces had quickly taken control of the area. In his memoire, Efiong recalls how he had asked Ojukwu for enhanced protection for his community because of the intelligence he had received of the impending counteroffensive by the federal side. The request, Efiong writes, was not granted. As the war progressed and Biafra continued to lose control, Nigerian forces came into Ikot Ekpene and the environs around late 1968 or early 1969 to liberate the area. They spared no person or animal. Women and children poured into the main road leading to Uyo, running and walking the 30-kilometer distance, to escape the fight. As governor, Senator Akpabio was fond of reminiscing on this story and the abject poverty of his early days. A toddler about the same time, I have also had cause to reminisce on my own war experience.
Akpabio, his family and many who know him closely tend to believe that he is a man after God’s heart for beating all odds and growing up to occupy very important leadership positions at every phase of his life. From secondary school (Federal Government College, Port Harcourt), where he was the Social Prefect to University of Calabar where he was Speaker of the Students’ Union Parliament, down to his recent election into the Executive Committee of Inter-Parliamentary Union, his path seems to be well laid out. ‘’Well, he has his foibles and weaknesses like the rest of us, but clearly, if you look at his background and humble beginnings and see where he is today, you can say that he is a man whom God has a special interest in’’, says Pastor David Usenobong, a church leader.
Senator Akpabio’s election into the Executive Committee of IPU at the 147th General Assembly of the global parliamentary body in Luanda, Angola, comes 59 years after Nigeria last occupied the seat. IPU is the global organization of national parliaments founded in 1889 and dedicated to promoting peace through parliamentary diplomacy and dialogue. It has grown into a truly global body with 179-member countries out of 193 countries in the world. You can then see why many are celebrating with Senator Akpabio, with the 17 senators from his own geopolitical zone cheerleading. In a goodwill message to be published in newspapers, they write: ’we salute your accomplished service to the 10th National Assembly and Nigeria at large’. Friends, family and associates are equally effusive with their compliments. Dr. Efiong Akwa, former chief executive of NDDC notes, ‘’when the hand of God is upon a man, what follows naturally is grace. The same man becomes unstoppable, moving from glory to glory…’’. Akpabio’s four children have also composed a special message to daddy: ‘’Today is a celebration, not just of the passing years, but of the incredible life you’ve lived. Six decades of your wisdom, love and laughter have shaped not only your own journey, but have left an incredible mark on ours as well’’.
Gov. Umo Eno has asked the people to toss aside political differences and celebrate with Senator Akpabio. ‘’I will be there at the stadium on Saturday to celebrate with the Senate President, and I invite you to attend in your numbers. I thank God that it is in my time that an Akwa Ibom son has been elected to occupy such an important position in the country’’, he announced at an official event Wednesday. The state has always been politically divided along party lines, but since Eno assumed office six months ago, he’s worked hard to close ranks and bring the people together. This is the first time that a governor of the state has ever had anything to do with opposition politicians or invite them to state functions. It is a refreshing departure from the past.
As I end, let me recall a small incident. In February 2008, Akpabio asked me to see him at the Governor’s Lodge, along Bishop Abayode Cole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. He was then just eight months into his first term as governor and I was managing a branch of a bank not far from there. His personal physician, Dr. Iniobong Essien, had arranged the appointment. I arrived in the afternoon just as his motorcade swept into the compound, and I was soon ushered in. It was a brief visit. The governor thanked me for teaming up with other friends in Lagos to support his campaign and spoke of his plans to develop the state. I said a few words and soon, I got up to go. He stood up and walked me to the door, and just as I was about to exit, I said, quite impromptu, ‘’Your Excellency, please serve our people well. There is a bigger room for you at the top’’. He smiled, without saying a word. Well, 15 years after, see what we’ve got.
Congratulations, Senator Akpabio!
Katsina State governor, Mallam Dikko Umaru Radda, has called on the federal government to probe the death of over 100 people in last weekend‘s misjudged bombings in Kaduna State.
He described the situation as a „tragic and devastating incident“ that left many in sorrow and anguish.
The governor made the plea in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Ibrahim Mohammed Kaula, condoling the people and the government of Kaduna State as well as families of the affected victims.
He expressed sadness over the gruesome event which could have been avoided if the military troops had carefully analyzed the credible intelligence they had received of terrorists‘ movement, before launching their brutal aerial onslaught.
“The fact that this ugly incident is not just occurring for the first time calls for serious concern. But moving forward, lessons should be learnt, to avoid a recurrence.
„The government and people of Katsina State share in the sorrow of this unfortunate mishap. We stand in solidarity with the victims and their dejected families.
„More importantly, we urge the federal government and the military hierarchy to thoroughly probe this latest miscalculated airstrike, which has left sorrow and agony in its wake.
„Let its immediate and remote causes be investigated diligently, and necessary preventive measures taken.
„Also, the need for gathering credible and actionable intelligence before military operations are launched by troops cannot be overemphasized,“ the statement reads.
Arewa Youth Federation has disassociated itself from the demands for the sacking of the minister of defence, Badaru Abubakar, over the recent Kaduna bombing.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Comrade Adamu Adamu, the group said it does not know the individuals who held a rally calling for Badaru‘s dismissal.
While expressing regret over the unfortunate incident, Adamu lamented the political exploitation of security issues by certain politicians, particularly the use of fifth columnists who see the minister as the stumbling block to their selfish interests.
The group, however, reiterated its support for this minister‘s efforts to eradicate insecurity and usher the nation onto a trajectory of enduring peace, stability, and economic prosperity.
The statement said, „As representatives of the Arewa Youth Federation (AYF), we gathered here today to emphatically disassociate ourselves and the entire Northern Nigerian youth from the recent demands presented by a group during a rally held in Abuja, demanding the resignation of the Hon. Minister of Defence or his sack by the President.
„It‘s imperative to acknowledge the commendable efforts of the Minister of Defence in addressing the security challenges in the nation inherited by the current administration, particularly in stabilizing the Northern region which was severely ravaged by banditry activities. Notably, there has been a noticeable decrease in daily kidnappings along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway which testifies to the progress made so far in addressing insecurity challenges across the country.
“These proactive measures taken so far, have curbed the menace of bandits and crippled their capacity to carry out audacious attacks on villages as seen in the past thus providing a sense of security to the affected communities and the citizens at large. Regrettably, we recognize the unfortunate incident in Tudun Biri village in Kaduna State where civilians attending a Maulud gathering were mistakenly affected by an operation of the Nigerian Army that was originally meant to target bandits.”
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the country’s budgeting agencies to separate the budget of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) from Nigeria’s annual budget to enable effective implementation of the Fund’s mandate.
ASUU president, Prof Emmanuel Osodoke, made the appeal, yesterday, during TETFund Alliance for Innovative Research (TETFAIR) showcase held at Innov8 Technology Hub, Airport Road, Abuja.
Osodeke, who was speaking against the backdrop of suspicion that the national budget may not enjoy 100 per cent implementation, observed that strangely, for the first time, the government decided to add TETFund’s budget to the national budget.
The ASUU president added that once TETTund’s budget is included in the national budget, „it is finished.”
He also called on Nigerians to deal with the inferiority complex, which allows them to depend on services abroad, stating that every country in the world that wants to develop must use its ideas and use its people and those ideas are in the universities.
Osodeke decried continuous patronage of foreign goods and services by Nigerians even when they can be sourced locally.
“In 2020 we were challenged to produce something better than IPPIS, it took us two months to produce it, UTA, which we have presented to the National Assembly, to the House; then we said let’s test the twin and IPPIS came last; but Nigeria insisted on using IPPIS.
“Every year, the Nigerian government pays $40 to a company in the UK to pay my salary and you reject the one in your university. You want to do anything you run abroad,” he said.
While commending TETFund for the TETFAIR project, he assured that the men engaged in the scheme can solve Nigeria‘s problems, stating that “we must come back home and use our ideas.”
Osodeke also warned against political interference in TETFund from authorities overseeing the ministry.
“Nigeria is in a deep crisis. Our best brains whether in the academic or medical field are leaving the country. Thousands of our colleagues, the good ones, are leaving the country. Some are leaving to go and farm. We must rescue our country. Allow the money for universities go into universities,” he said.
Also, the minister of labour and employment, Simon Lalong, who described the occasion as a celebration of the remarkable innovative achievements over the year, said the scheme serves as a platform for researchers and innovators to showcase their groundbreaking ideas to transform them into tangible solutions.
Lalong expressed confidence that the valuable experiences gained through the TETFAIR will empower Nigerian scholars to contribute significantly to their fields at home and internationally.
Earlier, the executive secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, said the fair was organised to support researchers in universities to bring their innovative ideas to fruition.
While reiterating the importance of Nigeria transiting to a knowledge-based economy, Echono stated that the world has moved from a resource rich economy to a knowledge-based one and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind.
“TETFund, as the foremost interventionist agency in Nigeria‘s Tertiary Education Sector has deepened its intervention in content- based programmes. The Fund is making conscious investments in support of research, innovation and development as it remains the most compelling strategy for accelerating sustainable growth.
“In our bid to promote the institutionalisation of R&D, we have sought effective support for impactful research and innovation through partnership between tertiary institutions/research institutes, industry and government as a national response towards technology,” he said.
On his part, the minister of state for education, Hon Yusuf Sununu, said the TETFAIR was not the only research effort being made towards national development, stating that Nigerian researchers were also engaged in multi prong efforts, including the development of vaccines for preventable diseases in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
Sununu called on TETFund to scale up copyright ownership protection so that the innovators will not lose copyright ownership of their products and services.
In her remarks, the chairman House Committee on Tertiary Education, Princess Miriam Onouha, expressed satisfaction with the level of research efforts put together by Nigerian academics through TETFund‘s partnership with Innov8 Hub under the TETFAIR scheme.
Onouha expressed hope that gains made in the project will eventually help to address unemployment in the country, while assuring that the legislature will provide the needed support to ensure success of the TETFAIR.
Ogun State Government has announced a N50m reward for anybody who could provide information leading to the arrest of the killers of Mr Taiwo Oyekanmi, the former Director of Finance and Administration attached to Governor Dapo Abiodun’s office, Oke-Mosan Abeokuta.
51-year-old Oyekanmi was killed last Wednesday, November 29 by gunmen at the Kuto Flyover Bridge in Abeokuta.
The bounty was announced in a statement on Friday by the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi in Abeokuta, the state capital.
It read, “The Ogun State Government has announced a reward of fifty (50) million naira for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the killers of the state’s Director of Finance and Administration (DFA), Mr. Taiwo Oyekanmi, on 29th November, 2023 in Abeokuta.
“Information provided would be treated with utmost confidentiality. Such information can be sent to the under-listed telephone numbers: 08037441955, 08033074371, 08081775020, 08034062773, 08032136765.”
Oyekanmi was accosted by the gun-wielding hoodlums, alongside two others, while returning to the Governor’s Office with money said to have been withdrawn from two major commercial banks within the Abeokuta metropolis.
President Vladimir Putin said Friday he will run for re-election in 2024, Russian news agencies reported, allowing the Kremlin leader to extend his decades-long grip on power into the 2030s.
The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.
Putin told Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, about his decision to participate in the vote following an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin, state-run news agencies reported.
Putin will not face any major challengers in his bid for a fifth term and will likely seek as big a mandate as possible in order to conceal domestic discord over the Ukraine conflict, analysts say.
Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.
Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers will likely be barred from monitoring the upcoming vote.
Putin tightened media rules on covering the 2024 election in November, banning some independent media outlets from accessing polling stations.
The election will be held over a three day period from March 15-17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.
Five major parties have been allowed to submit a candidate for the 2024 vote without collecting signatures, all of which support the Kremlin and the offensive in Ukraine.
Putin’s most high-profile rival, Alexei Navalny, is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges his supporters say are false.
In a statement issued through his team Thursday, he encouraged Russians to vote for “any other candidate” aside from Putin and called the elections a “parody” of electoral procedure.
– Pariah –
Since launching its full-scale assault on Ukraine last February, the Kremlin has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent that rights groups have likened to the Soviet era.
Thousands of people have been detained and imprisoned for protests, and many thousands more have fled the country in fear of being called up to fight.
The Ukraine offensive has made the Kremlin chief a pariah among Western leaders and his country has been hit by unprecedented sanctions designed to curb its funding for the conflict.
But while sanctions initially prompted an exodus of Western companies and turbulence in industry, the economy has proven resilient and Putin’s domestic approval ratings have remained high.
Moscow has re-oriented much of its energy exports to Asian clients including China, allowing it to continue pouring money into the offensive, now in its 22nd month.
Analysts say Putin has sensed revived fortunes as Western support for Ukraine frays and Kyiv’s counter-offensive fails to pierce heavily entrenched Russian lines.
In a bid to boost turnout at the last presidential election in 2018, which saw Putin win by a landslide in every region, officials cast the vote as a pivotal battle against Western values.
The Kremlin appears to be employing the same strategy this time round, labelling the “international LGBT movement” as extremist in recent weeks, as part of a broader culture war with the West.
The Adamawa State Police Command has nabbed a 17-year-old boy for alleged intimacy with a cock.
The Command which tagged the act as an ‘unnatural offence’, said in a press statement, on Friday that the arrest of the boy followed a complaint made to the Police by one Esther Dimas, a resident of Viniklang, a residential community in Girei Local Government Area, just a 1.6km long bridge away from the Jimeta axis of the state capital, Yola.
The statement, released by the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said the complainant caught the teenage suspect in the act.
“Another 17-year-old suspect identified as Lawali Mori, a resident of Viniklang, has been arrested for having unlawful carnal knowledge of a cock against the order of nature,” the Police stated.
According to the statement, the suspect confessed that he sexually assaulted the cock, although “he could not add reasons to why he did such a thing.”
The statement said the state Commissioner of Police, CP Afolabi Babatola, had directed a discreet investigation into the matter.
The 2023 Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on Friday, said the N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President could be deployed to fuel police operational vehicles.
Obi said the money could be used to increase police officers’ allowances from N5,000 to N15,000 per day.
Posting on X, the former Anambra State governor faulted the money budgeted for the office of President Bola Tinubu, Deputy Kashim Shettima and their aides.
According to Obi: “Good morning Nigeria. While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full details of the 2024 budget for examination and to ensure the prioritization of the items for growth, I wish to comment on some of the items that are already in the public domain.
“The sum of N15.961 billion has been budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president. If the aides are spending this much, one can extrapolate that their principals, the President, and the Vice President, will spend twice as much, which will be about N30 billion.
“This means that in 2024 the office of the President and Vice President, and their aides will be gulping over N45b for trips alone. Furthermore, the office of the Chief Of Staff budgeted N20 billion for the renovation of the President and the Vice President’s offices in Lagos and Abuja and their full ‘digitization’.
“If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transportation, and N20 billion earmarked for renovations, it comes to about N65 billion, which is more than N57 billion, being the amount passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund, to secure over 200m people. Join me in figuring out the alternatives of what this amount can do in real productive terms for our dear country, especially in a critical area like internal security.
“We have over 5000 Police stations and operations, across the country. Half of these police stations have no functional vehicles. Even those that have are given less than N5000 for fuel in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for prominent people like me, to call the police for any intervention in an emergency, the first thing they tell you is – ‘we have no fuel’.
“Assuming we decide to prioritize our lists and use these resources as most of the trips and the renovations are of no value to our growth and productivity, we can approach local manufacturers like Innoson and others and order 2500 4×4 trucks which as of today cost about N30 million.
“We will be able to get a 20% discount because we are buying in large quantities and paying them upfront. It will amount to N25 million each, which will be N62.5 billion for half of the police stations that do not have operational vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from the budgeted travel and renovations.
“The N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President can be used for fuelling police operational cars by tripling their fuel allowances from about N5000 presently to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.”
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has raised the alarm over the consequences of ongoing divestment of multinationals in Nigeria, saying no fewer than 20,000 direct employees have lost their jobs to such divestments in recent times.
The umbrella body for employers and the voice of business in Nigeria raised the alarm in a statement titled “Urgent action to arrest the growing unemployment rate rate”.
NECA warned that the consequences of the massive job losses across sectors would continue to create insecurity challenges, and increase the occurrence of child labour among others.
The statement by its Director-General, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde said: “We are concerned at the growing rate of unemployment in the country, made worse by the continuous divestment of global businesses and closure of local ones.
“It is worrisome to note that in the last three years, over 15 organisations with a combined value-chain staff strength of over 20,000 employees have either divested or partially closed operations.
“This has dire consequences not only for organized businesses but also for labour, government revenue and the households.”
Expressing the Association’s deep concerns, Mr. Oyerinde warned that “the consequences of this massive job losses across sectors will continue to create insecurity challenges, increase the occurrence of child-labour (as children will be forced to become bread-winners), adversely affect the disposable income of families, erode the purchasing power of individuals and drastically reduce economy’s output.”
While proffering solutions to this malaise, the NECA Director-General urged the Government to urgently address the multi-facet challenges currently being faced by organized businesses.
He noted that “the harsh business environment has made local businesses to be uncompetitive. The government must urgently address regulatory and legislative bottlenecks that tend to stifle businesses rather than promote them.
“Continuous efforts must be made to promote locally-made goods through the provision of critical infrastructures; urgent stabilization of the foreign exchange market and ensuring that Ministries, Departments and Agencies are appraised not only by how much income they generate but also by how many businesses they facilitated or promoted.
“The private sector creates reight out of every 10 jobs and deliberate effort must be made to ensure its sustainability and competitiveness.”