Uzodimma relaxes lockdown on markets

By Valentine Amanze

Imo State government has relaxed the order on the total lockdown on markets in the state as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The state Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, gave the order, while addressing leaders of Imo State Amalgamated Traders Association (ISAMATA) led by their Chairman, Chief Don-Chris Okere, at the Exco Chambers, Government House, Owerri, yesterday.

He said that markets in the state would only open for full operations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The governor, however, explained that the measure was taken to ensure that the economy of the state was not completely crippled and to make Imo people survive alongside their businesses as source of livelihood.

Besides, the governor challenged the market leaders on their pledge to comply with all the COVID-19 protocols which he enumerated to include: Provision of temperature check, hand washing buckets, wearing of face mask by both the traders and buyers, observing of social distancing but most importantly, ensuring clean environments and high level of hygiene.

His words: “The issue of hygiene is what we cannot toil with and COVID-19 and other diseases are mostly hinged on dirty environment.”

The governor, who observed that the former governments did not carry the traders along in their policies and programmes, pointed out that the success of the government was equally measured by successes recorded in the economy.

He lamented that Imo traders never benefitted from external loans, empowerments, and other palliatives that were distributed by the Federal Government in the past administrations, promising that his regime would change the narrative.

He enjoined the leadership of ISAMATA to add value to their existence as a group by compiling their membership names and forwarding same to government for such benefits that are meant for traders nationwide.

Governor Uzodimma, however, urged them to always pay their taxes and rates without being pushed around as gentlemen and women who know the right thing to do at any point in time.

He warned that the era when Tax Forces were unleashed on traders to compel them to pay what was due to government would not apply in his administration if there was proper arrangement between government and the traders.

Besides, the Chairman of ISAMATA, Chief Okere, had thanked the governor for inviting them to the meeting and appealed to him to relax the total lockdown on markets.
He expressed gratitude to the Governor for giving the traders a sense of belonging through the appointment of some of them into political positions and sensitive committees such as the COVID-19 Task Force Committee in the State.

He assured the Governor of total compliance to all directives regarding the ease on lockdown of markets.

Present at the meeting were the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku, members of the State Executive Council and other government appointees.

News Category: