The Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, the umbrella body of all traders in Anambra, has vowed to generate N5billion for the Anambra State Government before the end of 2023 to drive state infrastructural development.
The ASMATA President General, Chief Humphrey Anuna, stated this on Monday, after a closed-door executive meeting of the association held at its secretariat in Onitsha, the commercial city of the state.
Anuna said the move was part of the group’s efforts towards increasing the revenue base of the state government to enable the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to pursue his “smart city” agenda.
He recalled that on assumption of office in 2022, the current executive members of ASMATA, generated an unprecedented N2.9 billion for the state government.
He said, “It is for the first time in the history of ASMATA that such a whopping sum of money was generated. Our predecessors generated about N400 million; none of the successive administrations generated up to a billion naira.
“In this 2023 that is about to end, we are going to generate N5 billion to the state government. We are seasoned traders and we know the market terrain more than any other person. The only hindrance we have are the revenue agents sent by the state government who do not understand the market terrains.
“We will be able to achieve our N5billion target before the end of the year because we know how to block leakages of revenues meant for the state government and prevent it ending up in private pockets.”
Anuna also explained that a petition had been sent to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Anambra State Board of Internally Generated Revenue, calling for a review of strategies that would eliminate hawks and impostors to help the market leadership hit its revenue target.
He added that the closed-door meeting with the critical stakeholders and authorised partners was to review all strategies and methods to eliminate the “hawks” and “impostors” in the state market revenue collections.
“From the available records, we made the sum of N2.9 billion for 2022, using a known strategy. We have personally taken it as a challenge, hence the unveiling of a new strategy to achieve the target sum of N5 billion.
“Today’s closed-door meeting is imperative as it was with critical stakeholders and authorised partners to review all strategies and methods to eliminate the hawks and impostors towards giving the state government our best revenue generation instrument for a livable and prosperous homeland in Anambra State,” he added.
Also reacting, the ASMATA Conflict Resolution Committee Chairman, Chief Eric Uwaoma, commended the moves by the president-general, adding that it would aid the Internally Generated Revenue base of the state and enhance it’s infrastructural development.
Uwaoma said, “We will block all the revenue generation leakages through which government money gets to private pockets. We know all avenues through money comes in and if ASMATA is fully in charge of the revenue collection, we will generate the N5 billion as stated by the PG and it will definitely help the state revenue base.
“We are happy that we have stayed for one year and are happy to say that we have been able to generate billions of money that no successive administration has been able to generate.”
In his contribution, the Treasurer, Chief Ikechukwu Akpoluo, stated that most of the members of ASMATA executive were former market chairmen and leaders who have garnered experience to know everything about revenue generation in the markets.
“I was a market chairman for eight years and, as such, know the market terrain and avenues of revenue generation. So like our PG said, we will generate the N5billion if allowed to do the collection alone,” he assured.
The treasurer assured the traders of the safety of their money and judicious use stating, “We want to prove to Governor Soludo that we are capable of increasing the revenue base of the state government.”
Also, the Idemili Zonal chairman, Chief Emmanuel Obiagwu, posited that though the year is almost over it is still possible to generate the N5billion only if there will be an enabling environment.
He said, “If not for the circumstances surrounding the government, within these few weeks it may be impossible. There was an enabling environment in 2022. We achieved a lot in this our one year in office. We should be patient with our PG and government to achieve more.”