…urges nation’s leaders to take World Bank report on 87million destitute serious
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom has warned that Nigerian is sitting on a time bomb with its high poverty and unemployment levels, economic and social malaise coupled with the World Bank report indicating that the country could be home to 87 million destitute.
He enjoined leaders to take the World Bank report on Nigeria seriously by improving on the productive sector as advised and save the country from descending permanently into the position of the poorest country in the world.
The Governor spoke yesterday when he hosted a delegation from Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a USAID Agri-Business Investment Activity led by the Deputy Chief of Party, Dr. Farouk Lawan.
He said, “Other people may dismiss the World Bank report but for me as one who is interested in the development of my state and country, I want us to take that report very seriously.
“Instead of criticizing it, lets begin to reassess what we have done, where we have failed and what we can do to improve on the productive sector of the country because we are fast becoming the poorest country in the world which is dangerous.
”As leaders of this country let’s help our people improve themselves and not be home to over 87million destitute as predicated because we can see that happening already.
“With recent developments nobody is safe, I cannot go out without encountering those who feel that except they get something or handout from me they would not carry on, and this is not peculiar to Benue.”
While expressing delight over the intervention of Feed the Future in his state Governor Ortom assured that his government would provide the enabling environment for organizations to exploit the rich agricultural value chain of the state.
Earlier Dr. Lawan said after the last Business Finance and Investment Summit held in the state, and given the governor’s insistence on capacity building and training for Benue farmers, 100 farmer groups were engaged for training in micro enterprise fundamentals and leadership.
“This is important because we know that farmers may be in groups but they lack that group cohesion and financial literacy skills which are basic requirements by financial institutions that they consider to extend credit to the farmers.
“So by next week we will commence the training of additional 100 farmers. Recall that during that last summit, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority of Nigeria, SMEDAN was there and we agreed to collaborate with them to support farmers in Benue state.
“As part of that partnership we have agreed to train farmers in Benue state on those specifics which will enable them to access credit facilities of between N500,000 and N10million from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. That partnership has commenced and we will continue to do that for the benefit of Benue state,” Dr. Lawan said.