The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has called for urgent measures to diversify the Nigerian economy and reduce the country’s reliance on crude oil.
He, however, stressed the need to increase investment in agriculture and small and medium scale enterprises.
Abdulrasaq, said this in Ilorin, yesterday, during a meeting with the participants of Course 28 of the National Defence College who were on a study tour of the state.
The theme of the study tour was: “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria.”
He said that, “the study is very apt as the time has come for us to diversify our economy and drive growth to cope with our surging population.
“Our security as a country is directly linked to our ability to engage our population in productive endeavour and guarantee food security.”
AbdulRazaq, said his administration was prioritising small and medium scale businesses and agro-processing.
He added: “Kwara State under us is engaging with various companies to grow small and medium scale businesses.
“We are also encouraging bigger corporations to deepen their investments here. Very soon, the Kwara State Social Investment Programme will come on stream, especially targeted at lifting the poorest out of poverty line, empowering the artisans and small business owners and teaching skills to thousands of others.
“We do not claim to know it all. Please feel free to offer us your own insights on how to achieve more in our journey to build a viable state.”
Speaking earlier at an event commemorating the World Food Day, AbdulRazaq, said the state would partner various stakeholders to ensure food security, especially sugar production which he identifies as major comparative advantage for the state.
“The way forward is agriculture and agro-processing. That is our future. We are in central part of Nigeria and Kwara alone can feed the nation. This is particularly true in sugar production where we have the potentials to feed the whole country,” he said, citing the upcoming $350 million sugar refinery by BUA Group, the coming on board of the Dangote Group and ongoing talks with AMCON to revive the Bacita Sugar Company in the state.
The Governor also restated his commitment to lift as many poor persons out of the poverty line through the Social Investment Programme that is currently with the State House of Assembly. He expressed optimism that hoping that investments in small enterprises would spread prosperity and comfortably bring more people into the tax net of the state.
Responding, Commodore Henry Hassan, leader of the Course 28, commended the Governor for his giant strides in helping the people, adding that his, “unusual way of mobilising your men to go to the grassroots and see things for themselves” stands him out as a great leader.
Hassan said his team would share their research outcome with the administration as part of the overall national strategy to ensure food security and development.