• Apologises to South East for herdsmen’s attack
From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
As part of measures to diversify the economy, the Federal Government has pledged to focus on local production of goods and services.
The federal government has, also, apologised to the people of South East over the destruction of crops and farmlands by herdsmen in the area and assured that permanent solution is being worked out to stop the menace.
Revealing this in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, during a Town Hall meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said government would achieve this through the promotion of made-in-Nigeria goods.
The minister said the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari last year was aimed at “achieving a
Paradigm shift in the way we do things,” and revealed that there would be a review of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act to promote local goods and services.
“Boosting industrial development, especially through the local production of goods and services, is a major plank of this policy. Patronising made-in-Nigeria goods and services is also key to the success of the policy.
“In this regard, I can boldly say that Abia State is a pacesetter. Today, the state supplies high-quality boots to our military, and that is just one of such impressive ventures by the state. So, while the state is boosting local production of goods and services, the military is patronising made-in-Nigeria goods. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and there is no better way to give teeth to the economic diversification policy,” Mohammed said.
The minister said a major way of encouraging growth and development as well as boosting the nation’s economy was by helping the small businesses to blossom.
“The federal government has taken the bull by the horns by working with the states to address the root problems facing the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
“This is being done through clinics organised in each state, and this will be followed up with a huge MSME Trade Fair in Abuja later in the year, where grant agencies and investors will be invited to provide funds for outstanding businesses,” he added.
The minister said the launch of the Clinic in Aba, last January, was a befitting tribute to “Abia’s trail-blazing efforts at nurturing MSMEs.”
On the plan to review the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Act, he said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has already approved measures to sensitise Nigerians to patronise such products.
“These measures include the approval given to the Bureau of Public Procurement to increase the patronage of made-in-Nigeria good and services through a review of its Act.”
On the ease of doing business, the minister said the federal government has approved the opening of additional 28 offices for issuance of residence permits in Nigeria for foreign investors.
In apologizing to the South East, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh said he was a victim of herdsmen when they invaded and destroyed his farm crops .
Ogbeh said the federal government is seriously working out modalities to end the menace of the herdsmen who, he said, have no right to carry about AK 47 rifles.
“I sincerely apologise to those whose crops were destroyed by the herdsmen. I was a victim. They had invaded my farm and destroyed crops; but, please, nobody is happy about their activities.
“We are working hard to stop them. They have no right to carry AK 47. The army or police cannot follow the herdsmen around, but the government is doing everything to find a lasting solution and, may be, in a few months you will see the result.”