All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has promised the people of South East massive economic development and a forward-looking government, which would assuage past difficulties of the region. He spoke at a town hall meeting with leaders of the private sector and trade associations, yesterday, in Owerri, Imo State capital.
The APC presidential standard-bearer was responding to remarks of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who said the region had been neglected and abandoned since the end of the civil war, asking what Tinubu had in store for the region.
Before his response to Umahi’s question, the APC presidential candidate thanked the state governor, Hope Uzodimma, who is also the South East Coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Campaign, for facilitating the town hall meeting.
Delivering his remarks, Tinubu addressed the issues raised by Umahi, as well as other development challenges of the region by recalling his experience as a little boy brought up by a mother who was a trader and market leader.
Tinubu said based on his experience and lessons learnt, he understands challenges traders, business owners and people of the region are facing.
Laying out his development plan for the region if elected the next president of Nigeria, Tinubu said new industrial hubs would be created in Aba and Owerri, while existing ones would be modernised. He also promised that access to credit facilities would be available to traders across the region, and the country in general.
He said: “My government shall build an economy with a growing industrial base, more and better jobs for our youths, as well as more high-quality home-grown goods.
“We shall establish industrial hubs throughout the nation, and modernise existing ones. We will encourage and facilitate greater production in places like Owerri and Aba. At the same time, we shall broaden opportunities for you to engage in more international commerce by steering more activity towards ports outside of Lagos such as Onne.
“I envision Owerri-Port Harcourt and Aba-Port Harcourt corridors becoming more active, lucrative trade and manufacturing corridors than they already are.
“My administration will establish policies that would widen your horizons and expand your business reach both in terms of goods, which you sell, and your geographic reach to new markets.”
“Working with state governments, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the banking industry, we shall embark on a two-pronged credit revolution.
“First, on the sale and supply side, we shall seek to drive down interest rates on business loans, especially for investment in manufacturing, as well as small and medium sized enterprises.
“Second, we would seek to make consumer loans more available. This will allow more people to afford and buy more high-quality goods from you. By empowering the consumer, we would increase economic activity and prosperity for the overall economy, as well as for your individual businesses.”