Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Kogi State government has said it is hoping to attract about $350 million which it would put into developing its agriculture and infrastructure within this year.
It said out that, it would invest $200 million in its agriculture, while $150 million would go to the upgrade of the stateâ€™s social infrastructure.
The stateâ€™s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asiwaju Idris, made this disclosure at the weekend in Abuja when it hosted investors at its agricultural summit, and where, the Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, explained that his government was committed to the stateâ€™s agricultural sector.
â€œWe are targeting $350 million investment. We have packaged our process very well such that by March 20 we are going to Ivory Coast to discuss with the AfDB. We are also signing MoU with the NNPC too. We are taking $200 million for agriculture and $150 million for infrastructure this year,â€ said Idris.
He further stated: â€œWe want the investors to believe that they can invest in our state and that if they invest in our state their fund is secured. Let them believe that there is security of lives and property.
â€œAs a state we need the infrastructure that can help us grow because we donâ€™t have the money but if you put the framework in place and people believe that your economy is good they will put their money and that is why we are telling them that Dangote did it and he is a billionaire today.â€
Speaking on his governmentâ€™s economic plan, Bello, explained agriculture was pivotal to it and he was making efforts to make the state take maximum benefits from the tonnage of cassava its produces every year in the country.
Represented by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Matthew Kolawole, the governor said Kogi has become the largest producer of cassava in Nigeria at the moment and would want to extend the cassava production chain beyond just cultivation.
â€œAgriculture is the main stay of the economy and the oil well of Kogi State. Making agriculture a business concern and not just farming for farming sake is one of the most important priorities of my government.
â€œThe policy thrust of the administration on agriculture is to produce food and ensure food security for the people of the state, its neighboring states and Nigeria at large. The policy thrust is strengthened with the launch of the Agricultural Rebirth Program that lays out the agricultural revolution plan for the state,â€ he stated.
According to him, â€œSome of the major achievements of my government since assumption of office include: N1 billion naira investment on production of cassava, rice, cashew and other staple crops across 21 LGAs, government procured agricultural machinery and equipment to remove the constraints of mechanisation and processing, massive investment on land clearing of thousands of hectares of land to address the constraints on land development, investment in rural network of roads to assist in evacuation of agricultural produce, government undertook to procure farmersâ€™ surplus.â€