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The recent visit of African Development Bank (AfDB) officials was another milestone of Governor Badaru Abubakar to tap from the huge resources available at Development institutions like AfDB. The visit which was at the instance of Governor Badaru Abubakar formed part of a broad strategy of building synergy with institutions to pursue the Economic diversification promised by his administration.

During the visit AfDB Country Director, Dr Ousmane Dore who led the team of African Development Bank officials to Government house Dutse, disclosed that their visit was hinged on the desire for the AfDB to support the new administration to achieve its vision for the state. He said current revenue shortfall occasioned by the dwindling oil revenues from the federation account, the bank is ready to partner Jigawa on strengthening its public finance to boost IGR and reduce over dependence on Oil revenues.

The Director, added it is the bank desire to assist in making Jigawa state economically viable, Dore said, the bank had already begins investing over 2.6 USD on feasibility study under African Water Facility for the Construction of Multi- purpose Dam along Hadejia – Komodougu- Yobe basin that would boost irrigation and electricity generation adding that the total cost of the project is 200m USD with 2016 completion period.

He said AfDB also introduced Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme on rice and sorghum production along Hadejia axis that would provide jobs, food security, rural access and infrastructural development for the rural dwellers.

Under the programme, according to him, the bank would undertake the rehabilitation of agricultural and ancillary social infrastructure which include rehabilitation of 195km irrigation and water conveyance canals,105 Hydraulic structures 250km of feeder roads, rehabilitation and equipping, Five primary schools, Two health centre and Two community markets. Others were provision of nine boreholes and accessories, community sensitization on good nutrition and hygiene practices to reduce child morbidity and mortality, establishment of one demonstration and technology centre, provision of a tractor, Harrow Tine Cultivator, Trailer Boom Sprayer, Pneumatic Planters, power tillers and combined harvester.

Dore said, the project's benefits are to encourage all-year round farming, community Development, youth, women and vulnerable training programme under International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)’s outreach programme geared towards making the self- reliant. The country director maintained that an estimated 45,000 farmers and Rural Entrepreneurs, 200,000 rural youth including existing or potential small, medium and large-scale entrepreneurs, business associates who provided services to rural households would be in business all year round.

He said the twin programmes under Agricultural transformation programme i.e commodity value chain on Rice and sorghum and Community development programme and infrastructural development, would cost the bank an estimated sum of N2bn which would be co-financed by Jigawa State and the Bank with the state releasing N43.4 million in the first year. It would also undertake the input support on fertilizers, provision of agro-chemicals, office space and vehicle for the project as well as recruitment of zonal project staff,

Governor Muhd Badaru was very explicit, apt and coherent in response to barrage of proposals offered to him by AfDB officials. He told the AfDB officials to specifically assist him in developing Agriculture and agric value chain in Jigawa state. He also asked the Bank to support skills acquisition for women, youth and vulnerable groups. Other request of the governor was the training of school teachers and health personnel that would man his proposed policy of establishing a Health Center in the state's more than 270 wards.

The governor explained that he was worried by the state of the nation's Economy. He said: “Coming from private sector, we see the need to work closely, considering the situation we are in Nigeria. What has been happening today cannot continue, we have to develop an economy for the state that is subsistent; we have to develop businesses that would take care of the state”

“In most states in Nigeria as you are aware, we are majorly relying on Federal Grants except probably Lagos, Ogun, River and some few states and that is what we intend to change”

For Governor Badaru, the AfDB visit came at a better time and the state stands ready to discuss options available and where the bank could support the state to achieve its vision. The governor told AfDB officials that “For years we have looked inward on the best we can do.

We have discussed with friends, colleagues, and consultants, we always come back to the issue of Agriculture because, that is only need we have for now. That is our only strength, that, if well developed, we can have a competitive advantage and sustainability needed. For these reason, this administration is focused on human Development, and job creation through agric and agro value chain, that is what we have comparative advantage doing”

Governor Badaru noted the challenges of skills acquisition centre in Jigawa State which according to him was not made on the market-demand realities. Thus, make it difficult for the trainees to operate in a highly competitive environment. He however pointing out that, his administration had sponsored a survey with the help of DFID- GEMS-3 to identify businesses that favorably accommodate the trainees so government can focus its attention on, saying that, henceforth skills acquisition programmes would be demand-based.

With this helping hand from AfDB, it is evident that Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar's momentum for the new Jigawa State has started yielding results. The vigor with which he is pursuing the change he promised the people of Jigawa state is unprecedented. As such, there is no gainsaying the promise 'change' is just day away to fulfillment. What is needed for the people to continue supporting the government and a little patience since it is said nothing good comes easy.

Written by Yusuf Suleiman, an Editorial, Ict & Media Relations Officer, Government House, Dutse.

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