By Marie-Therese Nanlong
The pilot scheme of the proposed ranching option of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP in Plateau State is to be funded by the federal government with the support of the State government, the Secretary of the ranching committee, Professor John Wade disclosed.
Wade who is also the State Focal Person for the NLTP stressed that though public-private partnership would also feature in the implementation of the ranching policy, funds to be expended at this initial stage would come from these levels of government.
It would be recalled that since the issue of ranching/ruga came to the fore in the State, diverse opinions had been expressed for and against the policy with many wondering who would fund it but Wade had explained sometime last year that “the federal government will be on the front seat of driving this process.
“It has made some commitment of providing support but if the whole thing is not out completely, whether fund will come from directly or indirectly or from international funding, over 70% will be coming from the central government while the State government will make provision as a kind of commitment towards making up the remaining percentage.”
As preparations are geared towards kick-starting the process, the State Government in this year’s budget has budgeted the sum of N250,000,000.00 for the “establishment and management of ranches.”
This is about the third year such amount has been budgeted for the same purpose but Wade explained that there were no releases in the previous years but necessary to be captured in the budget so that they money would be made available when the time comes.
He told Vanguard, “The Committee was inaugurated towards the end of the year, we are still at the administrative stage of take up, we have not taken off fully so we cannot start accessing funds because accessing funds must be justified.
“It is important that we factor the amount into the budget to make sure that when we are about to take off, we have money. Based on what we are doing now, we have not gone into major financial expenditure. We have not gone into constructions, what we are doing now is further advocacy and some data collection.
“There is provision if you look at the six-pillar policy of the Live Stock Transformation Programme, one of them is the humanitarian relief programme which adequately takes care of those aspects but don’t forget that as we are starting, Plateau State is among the first that is entrenching this thing.”
On when the programme will kick-off, he added, “We have to have an enabling law and we are in the process of getting an enabling law so that we know when we start that we have the backing of the law. Citizens are beginning to understand this thing, there is no problem about acceptance,
“Remember in the past two years, in the course of interaction, we have had a total of 22 interactions with different communities and stakeholders and as it is now, the pilot areas that we are starting with, Kanam and Wase. We have interacted with them, collected some data and they have been cooperating very well.
“This stage is about government setting the pace, we are already taking with other organizations that have indicated interests to key into it, we are in the stage of tidying up issues with them to see how they can come in but so many organizations have indicated interests. Part of the six-pillar is that government has the responsibility of providing some infrastructure and security.”