Lalong of Plateau State said the state government had developed strategies to boost its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through agriculture, mining and other investment opportunities in the state.
Fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja, the governor said that the state government was determined to leverage on the abundant natural resources in the state to overcome the continuous recourse to the federation account for funds.
Lalong said that his administration had also evolved a process of harmonizing all revenue laws to improve on its IGR after understudying the experiences in such as Lagos and Ogun.
He stated that the government had repositioned the state’s owned outfit, Agricultural Services and Training Centres (ASTCs) and encouraged farmers in the state to generate revenue from agriculture.
According to him, the state may not be coming back to the federation account for allocation with measures put in place to revamp agriculture and solid mineral.
“To the plateau farmer, I think there is great hope for him in agriculture; first we have FADAMA I, we have FADAMA II and when I came in, I introduced FADAMA III.
“The FADAMA I and FADAMA II, what I saw was that it was neglected in terms of counterpart funding; the past government was just paying lip service to it.
“All you needed is pay your counterpart funding and you see a lot of things happening.
“What I did was that I paid my counterpart funding for FADAMA I and II and when the concept for the FADMA III came, I went into it and we are paying the FADAMA III now.
“The last one is that we had the opportunity to be among the states that were selected for production of rice and wheat. You know the rice you get on the plateau is usually the best rice you can get all over the country.”
Lalong disclosed that the state government would commence the distribution of fertiliser to farmers by next week to enable them to start farming early.
According to him, through FADAMA, we have established an agricultural microfinance bank to assist farmers if there are difficulties in getting loans from commercial banks to facilitate their agricultural activities.
On mining, Lalong said that his administration would take advantage of the opportunities presented by the availability of mineral deposits in the state to create jobs for its youths.
He said that virtually every part of the state had mineral deposits, adding that the state would partner with the Federal Government to get mining license for the interested investors.
According to him, if things are done properly, Plateau will benefit from it and can increase its revenue target from N500 million to about N2 billion.
“The policy of the Federal Government now under President Buhari is to really focus on mining and how it is going to be useful to the communities where you have the mining exercise.
“We have done that and we are working in line with the Federal Ministry of Environment for that.
“Recently, in one of my local governments, people were trying to smuggle some minerals but we have fortified, we have enough security to ensure the security of the place.
“Mining is not seen like what we used to see before where you are working and you are seeing illegal miners here and there, but today it is like petrol to Nigeria and if it is like petrol, we are also guarding it jealously.”
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