On Gov Bagudu’s economic dogma

It’s on record that Nigeria has largely been relying on the uncertain oil dependent economy and most of the states are solely depending on monthly allocation from the federation account while their internally generated revenue is nothing to write home about. The mono-economy operated by the country spelt doom for the nation, especially when oil prices crashed at the international market.

The ritual monthly meeting of states’ accountant generals in Abuja to share the money accruable to the federation account is an aberration. Therefore, there is the urgent need for the federal and the respective state governments to look in and outward as their economic existence is supreme and long overdue.

It’s against this background that the federal government under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has formulated various agricultural policies and opportunities with a view to diversify the economy towards, agriculture, solid mineral, tourism, among others, which have proved to be quite successful in most advanced economies.

Today, the federal government has various agricultural policies like the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, Youth Farm Lab, Presidential Economic Diversification Initiative, and Food Security Council, among others. Instructively, many states have keyed into these programmes and they are yielding desirable results.

In the North-west, Kebbi state under the resolute headship of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu is one of the frontline states that apart from keying into the federal government programmes on agriculture, initiated workable policies and strategies geared towards boosting agricultural production, youths engagements, and improving the state’s internally generated revenue while curbing the menace of unemployment in the state as an upshoot.

In his determination to salvage the people of his state and ramp up his wit and stealth, Governor Atiku Bagudu banished the ghost of the choking debt and poverty holding Kebbi to ransom and set to work. A man of vision, they say, can see through the cover of darkness. Such was the vision of Governor Bagudu when he quickly embraced the federal government’s self-sufficiency in rice production initiative, kick-starting a revolution that has today become the darling of President Buhari’s stewardship in Nigeria. Needless to say, the partnership entered into with Lagos state and other critical stakeholders have been responsible for the continuous crash of the prices of rice in Nigeria.

The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme was established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and was launched by President Buhari on November 17, 2015. It is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities. It provides farm inputs in kind and cash for farm labour to small holder farmers to boost production of these commodities.

While at harvest, the small holder framer supplies his/her produce to the Agro-processor (Anchor) who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had in February 2018 said: “Since commencement of the (Anchor Borrowers) Programme in November 2015, the CBN in partnership with state governments and several private sector groups, have disbursed a cumulative sum of N55.526 billion to over 250,000 farmers who cultivated almost 300,000 hectares of farmland for rice, wheat, maize, cotton, soybeans, cassava, and lots more. Two years into the implementation, the programme has contributed to the creation of an estimated 890,000 direct and 2.6 million indirect jobs”.

Now, Kebbi state is a model of the attainment of the federal government’s anchor borrowers’ programme and that has been due to the unmatched commitment of the Governor Bagudu administration.

Interestingly, apart from the Anchor Borrowing Scheme that projects the state as one of the rice producting states in Nigeria, without wasting time lamenting as many governors were doing about the dire straits their states are, Governor Bagudu swung into action. He rolled out his agriculture empowerment programme. This dispelled any fear that the governor may toe the path of his predecessors whose lack of initiative meant he inherited a derelict state devoid of any IGR potential. His bold and audacious plan hinges on the state’s natural and human resources and one gets a feeling the man knows exactly what he was doing.

Recently, Kebbi state government distributed equipment to farmers’ cooperatives in the state where he advised youth and women groups to engage themselves in food production in order to fend for themselves and contribute to the development of the society.

While speaking at the well-attended distribution ceremony held at KARDA Headquarters in Birnin Kebbi, Governor Bagudu said that equipment had been procured by the government to support farming activities across all the 225 wards in the state. This has tamed unemployment ravaging the Northwestern states with attendant increase in crime ranging from banditry and kidnappings.

Governor Bagudu further promised to provide more of such facilities to boost agricultural mechanisation for maximum yield as well as provide platforms for engagement of youth and women groups in the agriculture value chain.

Highlights of the event include presentation of power tillers, rippers, thrashers and harvesters to youth and women groups drawn from all the local government areas of the state.

Recently, Kebbi state was also rated the best among 36 states by the Cassava Growers Association. The feat was attributed to Governor Bagudu’s commitment to improve the economic wellbeing of the people of the state.

The government of Kebbi state has in collaboration with other relevant partners rolled an economic scheme where he presented 30 motorcycles to the field officers and supervisors of the scheme for effective implementation, promising that the state government will subsequently disburse N1 billion loan to various associations and groups while preparation has been finalised to distribute mini-rice milling machines to women and youth groups for processing of paddy in the state.

The state has also partnered with G-B Foods Africa to establish N20 billion n Tomato Processing Factory in Gafara Ngaski local government area of the state. The project which will be the largest of its kind in sub-Sahara Africa will provide about 1,500 jobs in the state. What a wise decision!

To recap the various economic interventions of the Bagudu administration in Kebbi state in an ordinary write of this nature will be a misrepresentation of huge feats he has recorded. The fact is, the state has never had it so good.

Undeniably, Gov. Bagudu is an economic emancipator of our time. No wonder, he’s the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Food Production.

Ikilima writes from Kaduna.

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