The Plateau government has approved N3 billion to reacquire Barc farms, a subsidiary of the state-owned Jos International Breweries, sold to a private farmer 24 years ago.
According to Mr Dan Manjang, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Governor Simon Lalong, the figure was agreed upon after months of negotiations with the buyer of the facility.
“The facility is very crucial to our agricultural revolution programme; that is why we approached the buyer, who agreed to re-sell it back to us.
“The farm has more than 5,000 hectares for agricultural investments; the Plateau people were not happy when it was sold out, so we had to buy it back because it is a major asset,” he said.
Manjang expressed government’s readiness to right the wrongs of preceding administrations, saying that government would always be guided by the interest of the Plateau people.
On other achievements in the last two years, Manjang said that 2,889 persons had been trained in various skills as part of measures to turn Plateau youths into job creators, instead of perpetual job seekers.
He said that the trainees had been empowered to start up their businesses toward building a robust economy, and listed the skills as carpentry, shoe making, hair dressing, catering, leather works, welding and soap making.
Manjang said that the training was facilitated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, through the Plateau State Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency.
According to him, Plateau government paid N2 billion to access another N2 billion facility from the Federal Government to ease access to credit facilities by the trainees.
The official disclosed that each of the 17 local governments had been directed to train 200 others as well, so that more youths would benefit from the skills acquisition scheme.
“By the time the local governments are through with their training, there will be 3,400 youths ready to start their businesses and create more jobs toward a better Plateau,” he said.
Manjang said that road projects, started by former administrations, had also been completed and put to use.
He identified major ones to include the Jos Wild Life Park way, the Secretariat Junction flyover, as well as the Jos – Mararaba Jamaa and Zarmaganda – Rayfield roads.
“We assessed some of the uncompleted projects and found that they had direct bearing on the lives of the people, so we opted to complete them; what matters is the welfare of the people, not who initiated any project,” he said.
He said that special attention had also been paid to the growth of the young Plateau university in Bokkos, with more structures put in place while 68 lecturers were being sponsored to bag doctorate degrees.
“We expect the lecturers back in 2018. Their presence will boost the quality of manpower and ensure speedier accreditation to programmes awaiting such endorsement,” he said.
He said that government had also initiated steps to revive many industrial outfits like the Jos International Breweries, Fertiliser Blending Plant, Barkin Ladi, as well as the Plateau Bottling company.
“A German firm has just completed an audit of equipment at the Jos International Breweries preparatory to reviving the firm; we expect the machines there to roar back to life `very soon”, he said.
The official restated government’s commitment to cattle ranching, and described the policy as the best way of rearing cattle globally.
“The bill for ranching has been knocked off at the federal level, but we still encourage people to embrace ranching because its benefits are numerous.
“Aside healthier cattle, the milk production will be higher, while youths used as herders will be freed to go to school and be more productive.
“Above all, ranching shall minimise the clashes between farmers and herdsmen because cows will be restricted to one space, which checks the possibility of straying into farms.”