The Ogun State Government has launched a N200 million Trade Route Incident Mapping System (TRIMS) in a bid to forestall double taxation and illegal toll fees that may result in prohibitive cost of doing business which hampers smooth operations of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
Speaking during the launching ceremony held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta yesterday, Governor Ibikunle Amosun said the TRIMS initiative was borne out of his administration’s pursuit to create better life for the people and create more conducive environment for investment to thrive.
According to him, a N50 million grant would be given out to empower market women and traders at the initial stage through the Market Board, which he said would soon be reconstituted along with the Ogun State Agricultural and Multipurpose Credit Agency (OSAMCA).
“Today’s launching of the Trade Route Incident Mapping System (TRIMS) is borne out of our administration’s pursuit to create better life for our people by removing trade bottlenecks created on our roads that had invariably and incrementally increased the cost of doing business and that impacted negatively on the competitiveness of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. It is our belief that this pilot scheme will create a more conducive atmosphere for investment to thrive.
“The scheme provides help line codes for each of the 20 Local Governments in the State which traders who are unlawfully extorted by security operatives can call to report who stopped them, how much was collected from them, time wasted, cases of harassment and where it happened among other things,” he said.
The governor said the scheme was not in anyway intended to compete with the security operatives or obstruct them from doing their jobs but to complement their efforts in protecting the lives of people and rid the forces of bad eggs, some of whom extorted money from traders.
Amosun enjoined the market women to be united as no meaningful development could take place in an atmosphere of hostility, adding that the multiple factions among the market people was responsible for the delay in the re-constitution of the Market Board and OSAMCA.
He appreciated the management of Deutsche Gesellschatt fur Internationale Zusammenarbelt (GIZ) for their partnership, which culminated in the reality of the scheme.
The German firm, the governor added “has remained a dependable ally towards the socio-economic development of Ogun State through it Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment Programme in Nigeria.”
Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, who also commended the traders for their cooperation with government, said that the scheme was a sign that the Amosun administration is committed to engendering better lives for the teeming traders in the state.
He urged them to embrace peace in the interest of their business so that government would be poised to do more.
On her part, the Iyalode of Egbaland, Chief (Mrs.) Alaba Lawson thanked the governor for sparing a thought for the market women and traders, saying they have suffered a great deal in the hands of unscrupulous elements among the security operatives who subject them to untold hardships when conveying their goods within the state.
Lawson said with the initiative, the market women who defy all odds to make ends meet, can now heave a sigh of relief.