JA Control Panle

Peoples Daily

Home News Special Report Appraising Zamfara’s roadmap to industrial development

Appraising Zamfara’s roadmap to industrial development

E-mail Print PDF

By Umar Yari

Available statistics on Nigeria’s economy indicate that Zamfara is one of the poorest states of the country in spite of its vast arable land, abundant mineral deposits and other natural resources.
Observers say that it is more of a paradox that its abundant mineral and natural resources notwithstanding, Zamfara State is still adjudged as a poor state that survives mainly on monthly allocations from the Federation Account.
As a matter of fact, a recent survey conducted by the state government revealed that more than 100 minerals of high quality are located across the state in commercial quantities
For instance; the study confirmed that gold is available in large deposits in Anka, Maru, Bukkuyum and Maradun Local Government Areas of the state.
The precious mineral is, however, currently exploited by artisanal miners and the small-scale mining operations have some challenges such as lead poisoning, which has caused several deaths in the areas in recent times.
Apart from its huge deposits of mineral resources, Zamfara is also blessed vast arable lands across its 14 local government areas, compelling observers to assert that the state could become a leading producer of various agricultural produce, all things being equal.
Observers, nonetheless, note that efforts to harness the various mineral and agricultural resources and use them to foster the state’s economic growth have been haphazard and largely based on patch-work methods.
Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, an agricultural economist, says that most of the agricultural activities in the state involve subsistence farming, adding that livestock production is also aimed at satisfying only domestic needs.
“For Zamfara State to experience any remarkable economic growth, tangible efforts should be made to develop its agricultural sector.
“Mechanised farming should be promoted, while small-scale farmers should be encouraged with well-packaged incentives to enable them to increase their production,’’ he says.
However, in the area of minerals’ exploration and exploitation, the government has been making concerted efforts to standardise mining operations.
Such efforts notwithstanding, mining operations in the state have remained largely artisanal regardless of the fact that hundreds of mining companies had been licensed to engage in mining activities by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Analysts, nonetheless, note that the accredited companies have either not shown considerable interest in operating in Zamfara or have been conducting their mining activities in a clandestine manner.
“The attitude of the registered mining companies has somewhat made it difficult for both the federal and state governments to derive maximum and appropriate benefits of their operations,’’ says Mr Saheed Zubair, a mining consultant.
Zubair recalls that the state government has repeatedly expressed reservations over the lackadaisical attitude of the companies in plans to promote transparent mining operations and generate royalties for the governments.
In spite of these drawbacks, hopes to put Zamfara State on a sound footing for a pragmatic economic and industrial growth are still bright.
The state government says that it has designed a blueprint for the state’s industrial development.
To that end, the government’s programme is aimed at facilitating the utilisation of the natural resources for the state’s economic development, job-creation and poverty-alleviation efforts, while reducing the level of the state’s dependence on allocations from the Federation Account.
Alhaji Hassan Mohammed Zurmi, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industries, says that the industrial master plan is aimed at establishing a cottage industry in each of the state’s 14 local government areas this year.
He says that an action plan for implementation has also been designed so as to monitor the implementation of the industrial development plan properly.
“With the establishment of 14 industries in all the local government headquarters, it is expected that no fewer than 20,000 jobs will be created, while a lot of economic activities would spring up from there,’’ he says.
Zurmi laments that many people are wallowing in abject poverty because of the failures of past state administrations to harness the vast mineral and agricultural resources of the state for economic prosperity.
“Our idea of establishing the industries in the rural areas is aimed at checking rural-urban migration and providing job opportunities for our teeming youths in those areas,’’ he says.
The commissioner says that feasibility studies and raw materials’ surveys have been conducted to ensure that each local government area has an industry that could conveniently use raw materials that are locally obtainable.
Zurmi says that the state government, in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI) and other financial institutions, will spend about N2 billion on the establishment of the cottage industries on a 50-per-cent counterpart funding ratio.
“Arrangements have been concluded for the signing of memorandum of understanding between BOI and the state government to kick-start the initiative. We hope that the industries will commence production early next year.
“We realised that Zamfara is blessed with assorted mineral and natural resources which could facilitate our economic development. We are, therefore, poised to harness the resources for the economic transformation and self-reliance of our state,’’ he says.
Besides, Zurmi says that the state government is planning to organise a “Made-in-Zamfara goods’ exhibition’’ in April this year, as part of efforts to showcase the state’s industrial potential and attract investments.
He says that during the exhibition, products such as calabash oil, marble stones, gold, rocks, leather and wood works, shea butter, beads and body lotion, among others, would be displayed.
As part of efforts to encourage private entrepreneurs to set up small-scale businesses, the commissioner says that the state government has earmarked N1 billion as loans for small-scale businesses, so as to further enhance the state’s economic development.
Zurmi, however, bemoans the situation in which some entrepreneurs have defaulted in the repayment of loans, totalling over N300 million, which were given to them by previous administrations in the state.
“The default in loans’ repayment has made the government to be extra careful in giving out new loans. We are now looking at ways of getting collateral from prospective beneficiaries before releasing the money,’’ he says.
In spite of the desirability of the industrialisation  programme, observers stress the need to strictly monitor its implementation so as to ensure its success.
A public commentator, Alhaji Abba Abubakar, commends the government for charting a new course for the state’s industrial growth.
He, however, notes that the problem with Nigeria’s development is not the dearth of good programmes but the absence of willpower to execute the programmes according to specified specifications.
“Zamfara State Government should commit all it takes to ensure the accomplishment of the industrial blueprint, while monitoring its implementation and guarding against extraneous factors which could frustrate its success,’’ he says.
Sharing Abubakar’s sentiments, observers stress the need for the government to co-opt opinion leaders in each of the local government areas into the programme’s implementation process.
The leaders should be encouraged to participate in the management of the cottage industries through channels such as cooperative organisations, some of the observers suggest.

NAN Features

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger



WEEKEND  Nigeria, the stigma

WELLNESS ZONE  Benefits of a healthy diet

POTS 'N' PANS  How to make your own Pizza at home

ICT ESSENCE  Working healthy with computer (1)

GREEN PASTURES  Let God lead you


Find & Follows Us