Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has authorised the relaxation of the total lockdown on
markets in order to ameliorate the untold hardship occasioned by its closure in March to curtail the
spread of coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing leaders of Imo State Amalgamated Traders Association, ISAMATA, led by their chairman,
Chief Don-Chris Okere, yesterday at the Government House, Owerri, the governor directed that markets
in Imo State can now open for full operations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
According to him, the measure was taken to ensure that the economy is not completely crippled and to
make Imo people survive alongside their businesses.
The governor challenged the market leaders on their pledge to comply with all COVID-19 protocols
which include: provision of temperature checks, hand washing buckets, wearing of face mask by traders
and buyers, observing of social distancing but most importantly, ensuring a clean environment and high
level of hygiene.
“The issue of hygiene is what we cannot toil with. COVID-19 and other diseases are mostly hinged on a
dirty environment,” he warned.
Uzodinma, who observed that 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 regretted that in the long period of past administrations, Imo traders never benefitted from external
loans, empowerments and other palliatives that were distributed by the federal government and
promised that, under his watch, the narrative must change for the better.
He enjoined the leadership of ISAMATA to add value to their existence by compiling their names and
forwarding same to government for such benefits that are meant for traders nationwide.
Governor Uzodimma, however, requested 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 said the era when tax forces were unleashed on traders to compel them to pay what is due to
government will not apply in his administration if there is proper arrangement between government and
To achieve a harmonious working relationship with the traders, Governor Uzodimma constituted a
three-man committee made up of the commissioner for special projects, chairman of the Board of
Internal Revenue and Special Adviser on IGR to monitor compliance and arrange the traders towards
getting post COVID-19 palliatives/assistance from government to assist them beef-up their businesses.
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