Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, said on Wednesday that the state government would allocate 60, 000 hectares for the setting up of two industries by Dangote Group and the Flour Mills of Nigeria in Doma and Wamba communities.
The governor told members of the state Councillors Forum who visited him in Lafia, that he had directed officials of the state Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and that of Lands, to visit Lagos on Friday to facilitate the signing of agreements with the two companies.
He said that the directive to the ministries was to fast track the process and encourage the companies to commence action on the projects.
According to him, Dangote Group will acquire 50, 000 hectares of land to set up rice plants in Doma while Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc will also acquire 10, 000 hectares to set up cassava processing plant in Wamba Local Government Area.
Sule told the councillors that it was necessary for them to initiate ideas on how to generate revenue for the 13 local government areas to become buoyant and move beyond just paying salaries.
The governor described the state among the most disadvantaged in terms of federal subvention and internally generated revenue, in spite of its huge debt burden.
According to him, in spite of the state’s low finances, the government must pay back three major debts, namely, excess crude, bailout and budget support loans acquired from the Federal Government between 2015 and 2018.
He said it makes no sense for elected officials to only worry about paying salaries without making efforts to raise revenue with which to execute capital projects.
“I’m challenging you to start looking for ways to raise revenue to do other things than paying salaries.
“We cannot be a state that struggles to make money only to pay salary and then go back and fold our hands,” the governor stressed.
According to him, “there are certain LGAs when they say they can’t pay salary, they don’t have revenue, it scares me.
“With all these availability of resources that you have, it’s just for you guys and your counsellors to sit down and think like human beings and see how you will be able to generate revenue, so that we don’t have to go and sit down at every end of the month and thinking how to pay salaries.
“That’s not the kind of work I want to do as a Governor. I want to be thinking and doing, I want to bring investment, I want to bring opportunities, I want to bring people who will come to Nasarawa, provide employment opportunities and provide revenue for Nasarawa state.”
Earlier, Chairman of the Forum, Uba Ahmed-Arikya, commended the governor for being among the first governors to implement financial autonomy for local government councils in the country.
He added that the visit was to celebrate with the Governor for marking his first 100 days in office, as well as the affirmation of his mandate by the governorship election petition tribunal and the Court of Appeal in Makurdi.
The forum chairman appreciated the governor for embarking on rural roads construction, rehabilitation and construction of schools under the SDGs, offering free medical services to the less privileged, among other initiatives, since assuming office.