Photo: (L-R] Vincent Akpotaire Acting DG, BPE, receives briefing notes from Benjamin Dikki, former DG, at the formal handover/takeover ceremony.– Stellanaija
The Acting Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Vincent Akpotaire, has urged the Federal Government to concession the 380,000 hectares of land around dams across Nigeria to large scale farmers.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that this would help drive the diversification efforts of the government through agriculture.
Akpotaire said that most of the lands were acquired about 40 years ago and had not been used, thereby wasting the irrigation facilities set up on some of them.
This, he said, was because there were no concerted operational strategies for the facilities to function.
“Most of the irrigation facilities are stilted up but they can easily be opened and upgraded if we put someone in charge.
“All we need to do to tap the value of that investment today is to ask BPE to reform the sector,’’ he said.
He said that the large scale farmers would also employ the local youths in their thousands to work on the farms.
Akpotaire also said that the huge size of their harvests would necessitate setting up agro-allied packaging within the centres which would in turn develop the rural areas.
According to him, government will achieve value addition to the nation’s agricultural produce and also guarantee huge increase in harvest.
The director-general also spoke about the eight reform bills it initiated that were before the National Assembly.
The bills include those on the railway, inland waterways, federal roads authority and the national roads fund.
He said that the bills were sent to the 7th National Assembly but they could not conclude work on them before its expiration.
“I am also aware that the current National Assembly is in the process of reviewing some of these bills with the aim of deciding how to go about them.
“They are working with a consultant to come up with clarity as to what to do with those bills.’’
He said that the bills were required to open up the sectors they were dealing with.
“If you do not open up the sector like it was done in telecoms, investors will just seat on the fence waiting for you to get it right.
“In Nigeria today, we have violations of anti-competition characteristics in very many areas of trade practices; but people are unable to do anything about them because the bill is still at the National Assembly.
“Our take is that we will continue to engage the National Assembly and our principals to ensure that efforts are made to push those bills quickly.
“These are the things that the economy require to stimulate economic activities and until that is done it will be difficult for investors to bring their monies into this economy.’’
The passage of the bills will lead to the abrogation of monopoly sector laws, liberalisation of the sector and the setting up of regulatory agencies. (NAN)