Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has urged communities in the state to be circumspect in managing the relationship with those coming to invest in their areas, assuring that his government is committed to ensuring that host communities and workers are not short-changed by investors.
Governor Ikpeazu was speaking while receiving the report of the investigative committee set up to review allegations of unfair practices levelled against Inner Galaxy Steel Company located in Ukwa West LGA of the State.
He described the Inner Galaxy Company as a flagship industry in Abia State which made Abia the foremost state in the recycling of metal waste adding that for Abia State, Inner Galaxy is seen as a hen that is trying to brood.
The Governor revealed that his administration is working hard to untie shackles around ailing industries in the state such as Modern Ceramics, Aba Textile Mills and Aba Glass Industry. According to him, “our efforts in reactivating moribund industries have thrived as Golden Guinea Breweries is back and bubbling”.
He said that the government has the responsibility of ensuring that private industries in the State operate within the confines of the law and vowed to continue to provide an enabling environment for them.
He appealed to elites in Abia State including those from Ukwa West to support the education of their youths in order to make them employable and be part of the emerging industrial city in Ukwa West. He further charged the youths to see industries in their communities as sources of revenue and development, and show support to them.
Ikpeazu said every government official and agency should see themselves as enablers for the success of investors and directed the Ministry of Industry to do its job of regularly supervising industries in the State with the aim of enabling the industries to thrive along with their workers.
The Governor added that manufacturing companies are of greater benefits to their host communities as they can provide job to all strata of people.
Governor Ikpeazu who congratulated the committee for a job well done said he will set up an implementation committee to study and implement the report accordingly.
Presenting the report earlier, the Chairman of the Investigative Committee, Chief (Mrs.) Uwaoma Olenwengwa stated that the whistleblower blew the circumstance that surrounded the Covid-19 pandemic in which the company engaged in a makeshift arrangement of mandating the workers to stay back and sleep in accommodations that do not meet normal standards to avoid contracting and spreading the infection while going home after work, out of proportion.
She said, in what could be described as a surprise, the company has within this period of investigation built a new six-block accommodation for its staff and that the staff have independently affirmed that they have received their salaries till date contrary to previous information at their disposal but added that they need a pay rise and adjustment in work condition.
The committee recommended among others that the State Ministry of Industry should live up to its responsibility of regular supervision to reduce incidents of non-compliance to rules of engagements and global best practices. She expressed appreciation to the Governor for the opportunity to serve and provision of needed resources to make their assignment easy.