Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Small and medium business operators in Kaduna on Thursday called on the state government to look inward and see how it can generate its own power to strengthen ease of doing business in the state.
This call was made at a one-day open government partnership (OGP) community engagement on the status of the state action plan and dissemination of findings from Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) facilitated by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), held in Kaduna.
Kaduna as one the local subscribers of OGP has ease of doing business, aimed at simplifying, opening and enhancing business environment as one of its five commitment areas.
A participant, who works with a non-governmental organization, Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women (LEADS – Nigeria), Michael Aboh, expressed concern that the state government was more interested in collecting taxes than creating a workable environment for businesses in the state.
According to him, “I run a small business outfit where I rely more on using generating set which is not good for me at all.
“The major issue we face is that of power to run our businesses. You spend more to run your business and you pay multiple taxes and at the end of the day, you have nothing left.
“It is not good enough for the government to find an easy way of collecting taxes but ignore ways of generating its own power.
“We have seen states like Akwa Ibom which now has its own power source. You can see what it means to create a business-friendly environment. We are calling on Kaduna State government to create same if we really want small and medium businesses operators to see government as a partner in progress,” he noted.
Responding, Head of Planning, Research and Statistics, Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service, Jogai Isaac, noted that the issue of power was beyond his agency, promising to take the request to appropriate quarters.