A passionate appeal has gone to Niger state Governor Hon. Umaru Mohammed Bago to pay adequate attention to cooperative sector to ensure the development of the state.
The president of Niger State Cooperative Federation (NISCOFED) Comrade Labaran Garba, made the plea at a stakeholders meeting of various cooperative unions held at the Conference Hall of Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Secretariat Minna, on Wednesday.
Comrade Garba said that the appeal became necessary and imperative as he described cooperative as a veritable tool that complement government efforts in poverty reduction, driving sustainable programmes of government which is recognised by the United Nations as resilient business model.
The president of state cooperative federation disclosed further that the need for government to give adequate attention to cooperative sector was equally necessary as cooperatives contributes towards achieving sustainable development in any given society, adding that formation of various cooperative societies was to support the people and the communities for them to achieve their goals and objectives.
Comrade Garba said that cooperatives have contributed to the growth and development of Niger state economy over the years by providing members in micro, small and medium enterprise with loans at affordable interest rates to develop their business investments, thereby creating more jobs and wealth.
According to him, many cooperatives across the state was involved in agriculture and manufacturing of agro allied products, while many cooperators in Niger state as well as various cooperatives have huge investments in land, education, housing and health facilities worth millions of naira and urged the cooperators to continue to show more commitment to the ideals of cooperative prinicples and values, and drive to promote the growth of cooperative movement in all sectors of the economy.
The president who spoke on the essence of the stakeholders meeting, however said that it was aimed at assembling the stakeholders to brainstorm so as to strengthen the cooperatives, discussed on how to address the challenges and chat a way forward, adding that it was also aimed at marking the 101st day celebration set aside by International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and United Nations by every first Saturday of July every year with the aim at increasing awareness on the actitivies of cooperative movement, by highlighting the credible impacts of cooperatives socities.
Speaking at the occasion, the Director Cooperative, Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Cooperatives, Musa Mohammed Erena, appreciated the organisers of the programme and called for robust synergy between the management of various cooperatives in the state and the ministry for them to succeed.
The stakeholders meeting was attended by chairmen, secretaries of various cooperatives across the state.
The Theme for this year's International Cooperative Day according was "Cooperatives for sustainable Development."
Arrangements have been concluded by the Niger State Government for the completion of the housing component and the provision of infrastructure facilities with other facilities in the Three Arms Zone, Minna.
This is as a result of the closure of the submission of pre-qualification documents by interested companies. Subsequently, bids were opened to mark the beginning of the process of selecting competent contractors.
Dr. Abdul Husaini, who is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Housing, while speaking at the opening of the bids submitted, said the occasion was in fulfilment of the promise made by the Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, during his inaugural speech, of his desire to complete all the viable people-oriented projects of the previous administrations.
During his inauguration, the Governor stated that he would like to see the completion of the three arms zone project to create a harmonious neighbourhood for functional and efficient service delivery, and within the first two weeks, he gave orders for the advertisement for the redevelopment of the three arms zone in two National dailies so that eligible and competent contractors throughout the country will participate and the best can be engaged for the development.
He further stated that what we did today was an extension of what happened some weeks ago, when the bid was opened.
Due to the low response and in compliance with procurement guidelines, it was agreed that the bid period should be extended by another two weeks.
He disclosed that although residential houses were part of the development at the three arms zone, another priority component of the three arms zone development was the construction of the High Court complex for the judicial arm, adding that road infrastructure and the completion of housing projects to give life to the zone were the dreams of this present government.
Also speaking, Permanent Secretary, Public Procurement Board, Alhaji Shehu Jibrin, explained that the board provided the technical support for the bid process to ensure transparency, stressing that it was a two-stage bidding process: pre-qualification and financial bidding. He said that after evaluation, the committee would shortlist at least six companies to be issued a financial bid, which would be evaluated again for a winning firm to emerge.
The General Manager, Niger State Housing Corporation, ESV Ahmed Abdullahi, said that the project will be a new smart three-arm zone development to be delivered to the three arms of the government of the state.
He said the government was interested in seeing the completion of existing housing units and building additional houses, pointing out that not less than 100 housing units would be expected, inclusive of the existing ones, to provide accommodation for all three arms of government in the state.
The opening of bids was attended by all the
representatives of the 13 firms that submitted their bids
and state government officials
ministry and housing corporation.