Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, says his administration has awarded about N3 billion contracts for rehabilitation and provision of additional facilities in primary and junior secondary schools in the state.
Bagudu made the disclosure in a broadcast to mark the 2020 Democracy Day, in Birnin Kebbi on Friday.
He said: “In education and health; we are increasing our investments, in the last few weeks we have awarded contracts close to N3 billion for the rehabilitation and additional facilities in primary and junior secondary schools.
“I urge all of us particularly the media and development organisations to obtain the list of all the contracts awarded in each Local Government Area (LGA), so that we will ensure participation in monitoring the performance of the contracts, to ensure that they are executed according to project specification, this is a joint responsibility.”
Bagudu said the state government had also rehabilitated about 140 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC), in collaboration with UNICEF in different wards across the state.
“Sometimes, we do not celebrate our successes, we believe that our successes even in the COVID-19 pandemic is as a result of the painstaking work done by health workers in different health facilities that have been rehabilitated and others in the process of rehabilitation.
“In infrastructure, we have completed a number of projects we initiated and those we inherited, some are ongoing while others are Federal Government’s projects.
“We must appreciate the fact that development is work-in-progress, when we came in we inherited a lot of ongoing projects, some of them have been awarded with no advanced payment to contractors.
“We choose not to sensationalise the government we inherited, we faced the task head-on, consistent with the revenue drop we experienced, we reviewed our priority and continued to deliver on the projects we deemed to be of utmost public interest,” he said.
The governor disclosed that his administration had completed the Yauri Road project, hitherto, disturbed the residents of the area due dust emanating from the project site.
Bagudu noted that development was a gradual and painful process especially when it included everyone, because demands were numerous and resources inadequate and scarce.
He stressed the need for the state to pursue private sector driven economy to actualise thousands of companies across the state, assuring that such move would boost state revenue base, and providing job opportunities to unemployed youth.
The governor stated that the state government had deliberately initiated inclusive development programmes geared toward fast tracking rapid development of the state.
“Kebbi State Government prior to the pandemic, called the the attention of Nigerians and part of the world in its inclusive development programmes which saw a healthy expansion of economic opportunities for all.
“We deliberately and significantly mobilised our farming, the pastoral, fishery, agro-processing and mining sectors.
“These are sectors that employ the majority of our people and the inclusive programmes have generated attraction, providing employment and income. We are seeing daily increase in out put.
“In addition to significant increase in output across crops and legumes, we have witnessed significant expansion of processing capacity as both large and small scale mills are completed, and joined other millers while others are at various stages of completion.
“It is true that Kebbi State is the first state of call for those who are seeking to buy rice for distribution and consumption,” Bagudu added.
He said that the GB Foods had also completed one of the biggest tomato processing facilities in the state.
“In fact, if not for the pandemic, we would have commissioned the facility by now because it is ready as well as the pioneering ethanol programme that we are doing in conjunction with Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
“The ethanol project is progressing according to plan.
“Equally, following the launch of the Presidential Artisans Gold Mining Initiative, we have registered a lot of Artisan miners, and a lot of activities are taking place, particularly in Ngaski and Yauri Local Government Areas.
“This will serve to incorporate and include our youth and women to formalise and support them so that they contribute to better livelihood, income generation, reduce criminality and achieve economic prosperity.
“We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for making Kebbi and Osun States the two pioneer states for artisan Gold Mining Scheme.
“Our strategy is to ensure consistency with our belief that private sector-led growth, and this will generate more employment and income as well as provide more revenue,” he said.
Bagudu said the state government was working in partnerships with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), on a one million dollar rice, groundnut and other cash crops production.
He added that Kebbi state was equally collaborating with the World Fish Development and Research Agency, to develop fishery activities.
The governor noted that Kebbi in partnership with Lagos State had launched a brand of rice called “Lake Rice”, to boost local rice production.
“The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2020, published the results of nationwide poverty survey and it is encouraging that Kebbi state is improving and indeed above others.
“In the northwest, it ranked second after Kaduna meaning that in the whole of the region Kebbi is doing better than five other states but that is not our aspiration, our aspiration is for Kebbi state to be number one and I pray we will continue to pursue all inclusive crops.
“Other surveys on unemployment and inflation show similar trends, even though the survey indicated need to do more particularly in healthcare and we are poise to do more,” he added.