Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umar Bago, has disclosed that the present administration in the state under his watch will leverage the agro-industrial value chain in the state to provide critical infrastructure for the development of high-quality products for local consumption and export.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, stated this while declaring open the 20th Niger National Trade Fair at the Trade Fair Complex in Shango, Minna.
He added that the development will lead to enhanced food security, economic growth, and sustainable development in the state.
The governor also assured that aggressive investment promotion in the form of mouthwatering incentive packages, promotion of savings, engagement of the diaspora community, encouragement of Local and foreign trade missions, establishment of trade offices, and liaising with donor partners will all be put in place to stimulate growth.
He added that the state will ensure that business incubators, export processing, and free Trade Zones are developed to attract local and foreign investors, create employment, entice foreign exchange earnings, and facilitate the transfer of technology.
On the issue of taxes, the Governor disclosed that they have sacked all contractors of tax collection in the state with a plan to harmonise tax administration, adding that a computerised database of tax payers identification systems will be created among other plans to sanitise the system.
He further observed that the choice of the theme for this year's Trade fair, "Public-Private Partnership as A Panacea for Nigerian Economic Growth," was very apt, as according to him, PPP was a global tool for infrastructural and Industrial development, adding that the state was more than prepared to leverage on it for the economic development of the state.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Niger State Ministry of Investment, Commerce, and Industry, Hamza Sarki Bello, said his ministry will continue to do its best to provide a conducive atmosphere for business in the state.
He said they were working to reposition the state in line with the renewed vigour of the present administration to place the state on the pedestal of business, disclosing that in 2010 the state was ranked 10th on ease of doing business but was presently occupying the fourth position because of some of the policies initiated by the state, such as the one-stop investment agency.
Earlier In her welcome address, the President of NCCIMA, Dr. Bisi Adeniyi, said the Niger state government recognises the private sector as a partner and an engine for economic growth, and that for this, the state was ready for business.
She observed that a strong private sector may not be realised without the use of modern tools and more favourable trade and investment policies, saying that as a result of this, NCCIMA will be engaging policy makers for improved policies in relation to advancing business in the state.
The NCCIMA president also observed that for the state to stand tall among other states in Nigeria, the infrastructure deficit and dilapidation must be addressed, which included bad roads and bridges, the rail transport system, and the revitalization of Baro Port, among others, promising that NCCIMA will do everything possible to ensure that the private sector complements the state government in developing the economy of the state.
There were goodwill messages from GIZ, the Dangote Group, and the Women Affinity Group (WAG) under the Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP).
The Niger State Government has expressed its commitment to providing qualitative education in the state.
Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago made this declaration during the 17th graduation ceremony and commissioning of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Second Chance Project, held at the Maizube Nomadic School, along Minna-Bida Road, on Thursday.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, said the present administration in the state considered education a veritable tool that teaches skills and helps to broaden the horizons and perspectives of people towards becoming more useful to themselves and the community at large.
"I make the commitment here that we will pursue every avenue capable of ensuring qualitative basic education for all school-aged children in Niger State, particularly as we are determined to reduce the indices of out-of-school children," said the Governor.
He also stressed that in life we all need a second chance at achieving our goals, expressing optimism that the beneficiaries of the UBEC second chance project will be better off for themselves and the entire community through the life skills they will learn from the project.
While commending UBEC for its continued support of the growth and development of basic education in Niger State, the Governor added that they were determined to pursue further partnerships with the commission to access the UBE matching grant for the improvement of basic education in the State.
He equally commended and appreciated the former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, for leading the way in providing free access to education in Niger State, saying the establishment of Maizube Nomadic School has enormously complimented the government's effort in providing basic education for the people.
The Governor also called on the people of the community who were the direct beneficiaries of the project to ensure proper maintenance of the facilities so that many more people will benefit from the gesture, urging UBEC to also consider other communities across the state that require similar laudable projects.
In his remarks, the Founder of Maizube Nomadic School and former Nigerian Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, observed that education was the only legacy parents should bequeath to their children, saying it was necessary for parents to prioritise their children's education.
He also appreciated the parents of the pupils and students for entrusting their children to them, praying that as some of the products of the school are now teachers in the school, one day they will have medical personnel and engineers as products of the school.
While appreciating UBEC for considering Maizube Nomadic School for the second chance project, the former Head of State added that the country was witnessing a difficult moment but urged the parents not to relent in educating their children and also asked the graduates of the school to continue to be good ambassadors of the school.
In his address, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Bala Zakari, disclosed that the ultimate goal of UBEC was to provide basic education to every child and that the second chance project aimed at providing opportunity for those who could not access conventional education.
He added that it was a good thing worthy of emulation for Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar to pick up interest in education after his retirement and appreciated him for his partnership with the UBEC as well as the state government for its support of basic education in the state.
The Acting Chairman of the Niger State Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB), Dr. Fatima Jella Suleiman, said the day was a significant milestone in the lives of the graduands and that as they step out into the world armed with knowledge and determination, they should remember that education was not merely about acquiring facts but about learning to think critically, adapt to change, and be compassionate human beings.
"Education empowers you to make a positive impact on your own life and the lives of others around you," she added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Principal of the school, Mallam Kolo Mohammed, said the school was established in 2002 by former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami A. Abubakar, because of the love he has for the nomads and to give back to humanity through education, training, and empowerment of the less privileged within the host communities around Maizube, Dogon Ruwa, and Sabon Dagah, irrespective of their tribal and religious affiliation.
He disclosed that about 700 pupils and students had so far graduated from the school from the primary, junior, and senior secondary sections, as well as from the literacy and adult education sections, adding that a greater number of them were excelling in their various tertiary institutions across the country and making the school proud academically, while some had already graduated.