Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State says the reason his administration applied to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is to let the world know its determination to entrench transparency in public service. Ihedioha, represented by his deputy, Gerald Irona, stated this when he received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, and her entourage at the Government House, Owerri.
He listed other governance reforms and initiatives introduced by his administration to mainstream accountability in governance, including the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), converting 250 accounts floated by the immediate past administration to one account via Executive Order 005.
The governor described Imo as an investor- friendly state, disclosing the commitment of his administration to partner international organisations to ensure good governance in the state.
His words: “In Imo State, we are highly enterprising people and we are investor-friendly. We have very huge potentials in tourism, agriculture and education. We inherited a state with decayed infrastructure and poor morale of citizens, occasioned by poor governance. Pensioners were owed for over eighty months and the Governor has now started paying. Governor Emeka Ihedioha has taken steps towards restoring public confidence in governance, with rule of law as a cardinal principle. We met an Internally Generated Revenue- IGR base of N258m monthly. His Excellency introduced reforms to entrench transparency and accountability in governance. Through Order 005, the Treasury Single Account -TSA was introduced and as a result, so many leakages in revenue have been blocked. Last month, we generated over N800m, as against N258m that we inherited as IGR.”
He continued: “We are implementing the IPPC accounting standards. We have applied to join the Open Government Partnership-OGP, as one of our transparency initiatives. We are opening up the government for citizens’ scrutiny and participation. We have opened an Efficiency Unit in the Ministry of Finance, with a view to reducing the cost of governance. We are investment-friendly and the Governor has set up a desk for ease of doing business in the state. We seek investments in the areas of Power, Agriculture and Tourism. Imo State is willing and ready to partner with the DFID.”
Speaking, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Laing, said they were in the state to identify areas of possible support to the state through the Department for International Development.She said: “We are in your state to get a better understanding of what is on the ground, with a view to knowing how we can support governance in Imo State. We have programmes that will be beneficial to you. We also wish to understand the challenges you are facing in the state.”
Laing, with her delegation, also held an interactive session with representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the media led by Chibundu Uchegbu, at the Rockview Hotels, Owerri.
She disclosed the preparedness of the United Kingdom (the UK), government to assist the Imo State Government in the area of agriculture sub-sector and infrastructural growth.Issues on political development in the Southeast geo -political zone and related matters were espoused.