By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt
The business community in Rivers State have expressed worry over the recurring violence associated with political activities in the state, lamenting that it impacts negatively on the economy of the state.
The President of the Rivers Investors and Entrepreneurs Forum (RIEF), Ibifiri Bobmanuel in an interview with journalists in Port Harcourt, said those responsible for political activities in the state must understand the impact of violence on business.
According to him, major investors monitor their stocks every time the state is getting to the political period.
He said; “every violence affects the business community because some of our businesses are actually in the stock market. So, if an investor sees that where your business is situated, there is a lot of violence, especially when it has to do with elections, then you will understand that those stock investors will pull out their funds till after the election comes and goes”.
He explained that that was why several businesses in the state are stagnant currently, saying: “Our responsibility as captains of industry is to see that we fight this process to its logical conclusion”.
He called on investors in Rivers State to come together and prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a free and fair elections in 2019 to avoid crisis that usually trail election period.
“Gone are the days you say could divorce your business from the electoral process. We owe our state and the society to bequeath the society with a free and fair election and whenever you have election that is free and fair you have this heightened confidence in the city or in the state or in the society for investors and for businesses. And our businesses are so fragile, and our businesses are so important to us now that we need to build upon our previous achievements,” he stated.
In a related development, the United States Consul General, F John Bray, has challenged the government and people of Rivers State to end all election associated violence in the 2019 elections so as to encourage investments from the United States and other foreign nations into the state.
He made the call recently in response to the appeal by the Founder/President of Belemaoil Producing Limited, Mr. Jack- Rich Tein Jnr, to the United State Department of Commerce to site its business liaison office in Port Harcourt to attract more investments to the state and advance mutually beneficial interests.