BUSINESS AND MARKET DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT PLAN. PART 1 – Ifedi Okwenna

Ndi Anambra are predominantly traders, merchants and businessmen. Onitsha market was once the largest market and commercial powerhouse of West Africa based on geographical size and volume of goods, attracting visitors from parts of West Africa (ECOWAS), Central Africa as well as all parts of Nigeria. During those hey day of Onitsha main market, most of the major import merchants from Eastern Nigeria had their head offices within the market.

Onitsha and its adjoining towns of Ogbaru, Obosi, Ogidi, Nkpor, Ogbunike, Nsugbe and Nkwelle Ezunaka alone have over 45 markets of different sizes and some of these markets specialize in particular distinct goods. In Nnewi, Aguata (Ekwulobia), Ihiala, Umunze and most other parts of the State, similar scenarios are replicated .
The population of traders and sub-traders in Onitsha is placed at approximately two million people. In addition, there are about 500,000 others who are in the area of SMEs, artisans and direct labour haulage, transportation etc. Annual Volume of trade in Onitsha is in excess of $3billion and 40 percent of this figure is in constant circulation through the unbanked transactions. This translates to Onitsha being the city with one of the highest GDPs in Nigeria.

In major cities of Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ndi Anambra dominate and control trade and commerce. They are the import and export merchants having direct contacts with the world’s leading manufacturers and producers of various items of trade.

Trade and commerce dominate all other occupations in Anambra State put together and Government’s internally generated revenue are drawn mainly from these markets. Unfortunately, the government isn’t exploiting this advantage by investing in these geese that lay the golden egg. Apart from Onitsha main market and few others, these markets are directly owned by traders’ associations and individuals without any government input. The conditions of these markets in most cases are sub-par. In some cases, access roads and services are denied these markets, yet government revenue agents find their way in to collect Internally Generated Revenue for the Government.

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Under my watch, Government shall not tolerate this, but will take ownership of our markets and upgrade their standard to a point where government is justified to demand revenue from them.
We shall:

  1. Ensure Provision of Services in our Markets.
    These will include:
    a. Fire Service Centres: This is to control losses through fire. The greatest challenge to our markets is fire outbreak, and this has continued to occur periodically since 1984. The State Fire Service Agency is usually ill-equipped, ill-trained and underfunded to manage any fire disaster. Whenever any occurs, there’s usually loss of lives and goods worth billions of naira.
    Going forward, all major markets in the state shall:
    i. Have a well-equipped Fire Service Centre
    ii. Trained Firemen ever ready to manage all emergencies
    iii. Organize periodic fire drills in markets to educate every trader on his responsibility when such emergency occurs.
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b. Compulsory Insurance Cover. The State Government shall put in place in partnership with a credible Insurance company, group fire Insurance cover for all markets and further insist that all traders take personal/company fire insurance cover against such incidence. This shall be part of the innovations for our markets to forestall losses occasioned by fire disasters.

c. Effective Waste Management system. As a former Commissioner for Environment, I noticed that the greatest challenge to our markets is the collection, transportation and disposal of wastes generated by them. And this by implication is the greatest challenge to waste disposal in our State.

I shall put in place an elaborate waste management system to ensure that all our markets are clean and that wastes generated from them are effectively collected, sorted and disposed at the designated city waste management sites.

To this end, we shall:
i. In collaboration with Market Leaderships ensure that wastes are collected from all shops in our markets.
ii. That all markets are regularly swept and kept clean
iii. Waste Disposal Bays are created in each of the markets
iv. Standard Waste Disposal trucks to regularly collect and dispose the wastes in the City disposal sites.

d. Water Supply and Sanitation (Standard Toilets): Aside Solid Waste Management challenges, markets in Anambra States are dirty and unsightly as a result of absence of water supply and Sanitation plan.
My Government shall:
i. Provide Clean Toilet Facilities in all Markets, and these toilets shall be managed in such a way that they are always clean and ready for use, for the health and wellbeing of the traders.
ii. Water Supply: To improve sanitation, my Government shall connect all markets to the city urban water supply system where they exist. Where this is not possible, we shall provide alternative water supply, including borehole to ensure regular water supply in our markets

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iii. Ban on open defecation and urination in our Markets. My Government shall place a permanent ban on open defecation and urination in public in all our markets. Offenders shall be prosecuted in the Environmental court and shall be fined heavily.

e. Electricity: We will ensure that all our markets receive electricity supply for effective transaction of their businesses and to aid e-business. We shall explore the use of alternative, non-grid power system for our markets across the State. This will equally help us to separate Commercial activities from other industrial productions which illegally take place in our markets.

f. Easy Access: As part of our commitment to business and commerce in our State, all access roads leading to and from our markets shall be tarred and maintained to ensure easy evacuation of goods and equipment into and out of our markets.

Join us, let’s go to work.
It’s possible

What are your thoughts?