BY NNAMDI OSELOKA in Awka
Former Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Prof. Bernard Odoh has said that massive investments rather than emphasis on punitive taxation would put life into the economy of southeast geopolitical zone.
In a statement signed by Odoh and made available to journalists, Monday, the geoscientist, explained that most apostles of taxation as basis for development funding fail to understand the peculiarities of Southeast, stressing that only when government has expanded and enhanced economic activities that taxation becomes morally and socially justifiable.
He maintained that taxation in a rural agrarian state as Ebonyi or any other state in the southeast can become a weapon of economic subjugation and social enslavement of the people, instead if liberation.
He urged Southeast governors to put heads together and evolve an economic master plan that ensures that each state creates opportunities according to its comparative advantage, so as to set the culture for eventual integration of the region.
Odoh, who is a former lecturer in the department of geology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, contended that if the governors of Southeast are able to devote much time to economic issues rather than politics, they would see the need to fund researches, as well as, embark upon manpower development.
“We need to invest in people. It is good to build roads and bridges, but education and manpower development should take ascendancy. Next to that expand the frontiers of economic activities, especially promotion of indigenous manufacturing and ease of doing business. Taxation is not what Southeast needs to develop into a strong buoyant economy,” he said.
Odoh disclosed that his three years in office as SSG convinced him that some state governments pay undue attention to political considerations rather than development issues, pointing out that he decided to quit as SSG in Ebonyi when it became obvious that his inputs were not needed rather than remaining in office to earn salaries and emoluments.
“Many people wonder why I resigned instead of remaining behind to do deals and accumulate wealth, but I continue to tell them that public service is meant to create value for the people rather than personal aggrandisement. We need to change our mentality towards government appointments,” he stated.