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Cross River Gives Prime Attention To Agriculture With N30 billion Credit Guarantee Fund

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Gov Bassey Otu (2nd from right), flanked on his left by the State Chairman of APC, Barr Alphonsus Eba, on his right, the SSG, Prof. Anthony Owan-Enoh and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang

Faced with a near zero income from the Federation account, the Cross River state government is giving prime attention to agriculture with N30 billion Credit Guarantee Fund to farmers.

In addition, the state government within 100 days in office has attracted $15million private sector investment into the Ayip Eku Oil Palm Estate, with multiple effect on employment and growth of State Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The state governor, Senator Bassey Otu who disclosed this on Friday marking his 100 days in office with a media parley with newsmen in the state, said, “as we are aware, agriculture is the area Cross River State has comparative advantage over many States of the federation. Prime attention is therefore given to this sector”.

To achieve this, he said the government has “developed a-6-years N30bn agricultural credit guarantee fund for rice, maize, fisheries and livestock farmers.

“In order to ascertain with precision, the soil texture for specific crops in the different zones of the state, government has commenced the State-wide Digital Soil Fertility Mapping. This will translate to greater yields of different crops”.

In partnership with the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (ORGAN), Otu said, the state government has commenced the planting of 3.5million hybrid oil palm seedlings in 13 identified locations across the State.

“In agric-related human capital development, the state government has sponsored indigenes of the State to participate in cassava-bio value chain conference in Asaba-Delta State for subsequent establishment of cassava-bio fuel factory in the State, as well as workshop on sustainable oil palm economy.

“50 starter-rice growers have been given free rice seedlings, fertilizer and pesticides, while 30 starter-livestock farmers have been assisted  with day old chicks, feeds etc”, he stated.

To boost the revenue base of the state, the governor announced that the recently concluded International Cooperation and Investment Summit yielded good result with over $1bn financial commitment to be invested in the State by way of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

A cross section of Journalists at the maiden Media parley/100 days in office of Gov Bassey Otu

On the hardship the removal of oil subsidy is causing on the people, he said that the state government has received the sum of N2billion so far from the federal government and the money is in the bank pending modalities for disbursement by the just constituted disbursement committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Owan-Enoh.

Besides the N2billion, Otu said  in order to cushion the effect of this unpleasant situation government has some palliatives on its stable and this includes, “reduction of working days for civil servants on GL.13 and below from 5-3 days per week.

“From GL.14 and above who will still be expected to work for the usual 5 days a week, a monthly stipend will be added to their salaries. There is also provision for hardship allowance for all civil servants in the State according to grade level”.

In addition, he said, “reduced transportation scheme is about to be introduced in designated routes in the State. Subsidized ticketing for all commercial vehicles operating within the State capital is in place, thereby reducing the fares by 50%.

“Government has also approved free antenatal care and delivery for pregnant women across the State in all state owned hospitals”.

Even with the modest developmental strides l within the context of 100 days of his administration out of the four years tenure of office, he gave the assurance that as a government, “we are duty-bound and resolute to bring development to every nook and cranny of the state before the expiration of our tenure. What we need from our fellow citizens is cooperation, patience, love, peace and unity; for development is not an abstract entity, rather it is tangible activity anchored on the foregoing prevailing atmosphere. Let us join hands to realize the state of our dream, let the sweat of today become the harvest of tomorrow”. 

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