Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has received the ‘Niger State Sector-Specific Investment Incentives’ Policy document from the Feed the Future of United States Agency for International Development, (USAID).
Receiving the document policy from Dominic Graham, Chief Party and Managing Director of Feed the Future, Governor Sani Bello said the policy when implemented will go a long way in attracting and propelling agro-investors into the state.
He said more was needed to be done to support the farmers and urged investors to give more emphasis on out-growers, stressing their importance as small scale business group.
The Governor noted that time has come for farmers to have an insurance scheme to cushion the effect of the loses they sometimes suffer.
He assured that an implementation committee will be set up by the government which will ensure proper and adequate monitoring and also encourage local farmers in the state to meet international standards.
“There is no reason why we cannot do more having thought through the opportunities in Niger state but we must have an attractive policy that if well implemented will open doors and give investors comfort and also enable our farmers to meet international standards”, he said.
He said the state is doing well in producing the crops identified as target value chains but suggested that the policy should consider how to improve on the capacity of farmers and value addition through technical assistance.
The Governor while acknowledging that the state and the entire country is facing security challenges,assured that government is working assiduously to address the situation so as to provide the needed atmosphere for investors and for agricultural activities to flourish.
Earlier in his power point presentation, the Chief of Party, Dominic Graham, said the rationale behind the policy document, is to facilitate the promotion of investments, remove all unnecessary control and create an atmosphere that guarantees transparency while encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.
Graham who explained that the policy was developed at the instance of the Niger State Ministry of Investment, Commerce and Industry and the State Investment Promotion Agency which was aimed at encouraging incentives, strengthening business environment reforms to raise private productivity and competitiveness among others.
He added that the programme started two years back amongst seven states of Niger, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna and Kebbi which have so far recorded commendable achievements especially in the cultivation of rice, maize, soybeans, cowpea and aquaculture.
Graham disclosed some of their notable achievements to include; support to over 3000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access finance and investment across Niger State, training 2700 MSMEs on access to finance and organizational improvements.
He added that they collaborated with agencies to support the development of the state agriculture and livestock policies and expedited the development of the state aquaculture policy framework amongst others.
The Chief of Party and MD said that the mechanism for the full participation of women and youths in the investment sector has been considered in the policy as well as setting up a legal framework for investment promotion.
Niger State Commissioner for Investment, Commerce, and Industry, Dr. Mustapha Jibril appreciated all stakeholders that played a vital role in compiling the policy document and assured that it would be implemented to the later.