27 Sep DIVERSIFICATION: RMAFC URGES STATES TO EXPLOIT AREAS OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE
The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission has urged State Governments in the country to exploit areas of comparative advantage in their drive to promote economic diversification for enhanced revenue generation, job creation and improved livelihoods for the teeming populace.
Chairman of the Commission, Engr. Elias Mbam made this call today when he received a high powered delegation from Katsina State Government on official working visit in his Office in Abuja. The delegation led by Muhammad Lawal Jari, the State Commissioner for Finance who represented Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema also includes the Commissioners of Environment, Agriculture, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Accountant General as well.
Mbam observed that for State Governments to effectively harness their resources, they need to leverage on areas of comparative advantage for optimum productivity rather than dissipate energy and resources on non-viable sectors. To this end, he assured that the Commission was willing to avail States desirous of diversifying their economy of its Diversification Blueprint and also facilitate access to enable them draw funds from the Natural resources Fund domiciled in the Central Bank for the development of natural resources like agriculture, tourism, solid minerals and the manufacturing sectors.
The RMAFC Boss further explains that the Fund being held in trust by the Federal Government can be accessed by States and Local Governments to invest in the identified areas of diversification with a view to enhancing their revenue base so as to reduce the over dependence on oil revenue.
Mbam also commended the Katsina State Government for the laudable achievements in the development of infrastructures, capacity building, empowerment and peace building which are strong drivers of any meaningful development. In his presentation earlier, the State Commissioner for Finance, Lawal Jari who presented the State Diversification Blueprint to the Chairman of the Commission on behalf of Governor Shema told members of the Commission that the State’s major Resources are derived from agriculture, as he rated the State as the highest producer of Cotton in Nigeria.
According to him, the State with a population of about 5.8 Million according to 2006 Population census is endowed with abundant human and natural resources just as it is also rich in culture and tradition adding that the major challenge confronting the State now is how to expand what they have on ground so that the State would have total diversification of its economy. He further disclosed that the State with a total of about 2.43m ha of arable land, 0.62m ha or 26% of irrigable land with several large, medium and small dams across the states is vigorously pursuing a number of agricultural and agro-allied policies which need to be further strengthened through increased investment by the Government in order to attract private sector participation either in direct agricultural production or in the
establishment or development of agro-based industries for export products.
Jari stressed that the total project cost which stood at about 106.52bn is to be earmarked for the Construction of artificial insemination centre and establishment of dairy cattle improvement and products processing units; Establishment of intensive fish culture and processing centre; Establishment of hi-tech seeds and seedlings multiplication and marketing centres; Desertification and Erosion Control Measures; development of grazing reserve and stock route; and the rehabilitation of communities affected by flood disasters amongst others.
The Commissioner opines that “promoting diversification, intensification and innovations targeting high value crops for local and export markets in order to achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural production through all year round cultivation of crops and ensure profitability, targeted investment on irrigation facilities will have to be made on a massive scale”.