Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
In a bid to confront current economic recession on all fronts, Plateau state Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong has said his administration is taking the advantage of the return of peace in the state to provide an enabling environment in the rural communities to boost business activities among the grassroots.
Lalong, who stated this during the recent official launch of the state’s local governments’ business environment scorecard, titled ‘Deepening Economic Development for Peace and Stability in Plateau state’, funded by the European Union (EU), and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale (GIZ).
The governor, who was represented by his Commissioner for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Dayyabu Garga, said the state government would continue to partner all professional bodies in the country and beyond to achieve sustainable development in the state.
He said, “We know that without peace, business would not grow, and that is why when we came on board last year we first worked towards tackling insecurity; we worked tirelessly to ensure that peace was restored to our state knowing that it is only in such atmosphere of peace that business can thrive in any community.
“Our administration will continue to ensure that business in Plateau thrives, and that was why we also ensured that applicants in the state are no longer denied land titles for their properties like it used to be in the past; this is to encourage them to register their land titles.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the lead consultant of the state’s local government Business Environment Scorecard, Nde Ezekiel Gomos, said the project was a novel one, which has been crafted along the World Bank Annual Doing Business reports aimed at examining the quality of business environment by measuring the ease of doing business in about 200 countries of the world.
Gomos said, “The goal is to enhance business enabling environment through self-awareness of local regulatory and economic governance”, adding that “we were able to sensitise and create awareness among stakeholders in the LGA.”
He added that Plateau is the first state in the country to embark on the project, adding that of all the 17 local government areas in the states Shendam local government is rated the most business viable. Jos South was among the councils adjudged to be the least viable because of its vulnerability to crises.
Plateau State, which has always been tagged a peaceful state with one of the best climate patterns in Nigeria, has been rocked by indigene-settler conflicts for some years and during past administrations. But the present administration has made the issue of peace a focal point for its growth and development strategy.
Also, rural development has been described as a crucial take-off point in the development strategy of any nation, with more than 60 per cent of Nigerian citizens still living in the rural areas across the country. The belief is that when the rural areas and grassroots are adequately developed, this will help check rural-urban drift or migration and reduce the pressure on the urban areas.