Governor Simon Bako Lalong has disclosed that one major lynchpin of his ‘Rescue Administration’ is a deliberate decision to tackle the state’s industrialization challenge headlong by engaging in the revamping of hitherto moribund state-owned industries which were abandoned by past administrations for decades.
Addressing participants and investors at the ongoing Jos Trade Fair, Lalong said; “Our efforts in this regard have paid off handsomely.”
He congratulated the Plateau Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mining and Agriculture, PLACCIMA, and Anista Marketing and Event Limited, the organizers of this Trade Fair, for their painstaking efforts in organizing a successful and memorable event which memory will remain indelible in the minds of many participants for many years to come.
According to him the government has deliberately put in place some measures with a view to overcoming economic challenges by establishing some institutions at the inception of this administration.
These institutions, he said, include the following, PLASMEDA (Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency) to facilitate regulation compliance, OSS (One-Stop-Shop) to provide information to potential investors and the Ease of Doing Business in Plateau State.
“Today, I can confidently assure you of the abundant human and natural resources that are begging to be harnessed in our dear state. A Trade Fair such as this, therefore, avails stakeholders the opportunity to meet, collaborate and cross-fertilize business ideas, as well as showcase their respective potentials”, he added.
He urged his listeners to visit places like Wase, Mangu, Pankshin, Riyom etc, to “convince any serious-minded entrepreneur in the tourism sector to invest therein.
He emphasized that Plateau State is blessed with solid minerals like tin, columbite, silicon, limestone, kaolin, etc, that are all in large quantities.
“In agriculture, government is collaborating with a private firm, the Agricultural Services and Training Centre (ASTC), which is located in each of the three geo-political zones of the state.
“This firm works directly with the farmers by way of providing tractor services, seeds/seedlings, consultancy services etc. This is in a bid to make farming not just interesting but also attractive to, especially the youths.
“For instance, the Plateau State Fertilizer Blending Plant, Bokkos has since been resuscitated. For the first time in the history of Plateau State, we now have a functional Fertilizer Plant that is fully operational at optimal capacity.
“The products are available, affordable and of excellent quality. Just last month, for instance, a WORLD QUALITY ALLIANCE ORGANIZATION gave an award in Lagos to BEJAFTA GROUP LTD, the major investors handling the Fertilizer firm. The plant is being operated under a Public-Private Partnership with the state government. Bejafta won the best fertilizer of the year award in the fertilizer category.
Also, the hitherto abandoned state-owned Highland Bottling Company in Barkin Ladi, has since been resuscitated. The company is now producing table water (GovWater) ,which has already hit the market. Very soon, with the availability of funds, the firm will commence the production of malt drinks and other products.
“Two other firms, the Jos International Breweries, PLC, and the Jos Ultra Modern Market, have reached advanced stage in our efforts to revive them. Government has also entered into a PPP with a foreign firm and even released a part-payment for the resuscitation of the Jos Ultra Modern Market. Government has also paid part of the money to acquire BARC Farms, a subsidiary of JIB PLC, which was erroneously sold to an investor.”
He said the government was addressing the security challenges posed by herders-farmer clashes and ethno-religious crisis, first by working with the police in the state and other security personnel deployed by the Federal Government to the state.
“It is the relative peace which we now have that has culminated in the enabling environment for us to hold this year’s Trade Fair without any incident of violence.
“ Thus, the challenge now is for us to sustain the peace by all means possible in order to bring about sustainable development and achieve the Plateau State of our collective dream.