The Kwara State Coalition of Business and Professional Associationns (KWACOBPA), an umbrella body of business owners in the state, has said that about N2billion is lost in revenue annually by the state government to closure of businesses and under-utilisation of plants and machinery by business operators.
Speaking at launch of business agenda for the state in Ilorin at the weekend, the chairman of KWACOBPA, Chief Hezekiah Adediji, called the attention of the state government to such critical areas of intervention as inadequate power supply and security, saying they served as challenges causing severe setback to business sector in the state.
Chief Adediji, who said that the coalition consisted of 21 business and professional associations, added that it was supportive of legislative programmes and policies that could bring about access to fund and ease of business processes in the state.
The coalition also urged the government to earmark one per cent of the state annual budget for the purpose of supporting private sector every year.
As a quick measure to address the lingering economic problem, the coalition advocated that N220billion fund be allocated to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
He also called for the establishment of farm settlement across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state to serve as youth empowerment, adding that each settlement should concentrate on the farm produce identified with various local government councils.
“The Coalition supports legislative programmes and policies that positively impact on access to fund, ease of processes and affordability of cost of accessing the available funds”, he said.
He also identified other areas requiring critical intervention of government to include: high prevalence of highway robbery, bank robbery and cultism, purchase of at least 25 Armoured Personnel Carriers to complement existing ones, purchase of 120 additional patrol vans and resuscitation of the security patrol team known as “Operation Harmony.”
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Cooperatives, Alhaji Mohammed Rifun, who represented Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, appreciated efforts of the group for the research and launch of the business agenda and pledged support of the state government to the coalition.
He said that the business agenda was capable of ensuring socio-economic development and well-being of the state, adding that “the launch could not have been held at a better time than now, when the spate of unemployment in the country was increasing on a daily basis, high dependence on the government for provision of white collar jobs, pressure on the inadequate infrastructure in the state as a result of rural urban drift, the need for a paradigm shift from reliance on oil to diversification to agriculture and the need for youth to be self employed become imperative”.
He also said that the state government had launched and adopted many programmes aimed at socioeconomic development of the state.