Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has said that the state is ready to key into the Zero Oil Plan of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) spearheaded by its Chief Executive Officer, Segun Awolowo.
The governor expressed the optimism that the programme would serve as an important mechanism in fighting the on-going insurgency in the state.
Extolling the efforts of the NEPC boss, Zulum said: “I have seen in you worthy partner to revamp the state economy.
That’s why I invited the Chairman and Secretary of the Borno Chambers of Commerce to be here. Government will ensure conducive policy environment and other necessary support to all our farmers. We will be proud to encourage production for export to boost the economy.”
While advocating for a mutual partnership, Gov Zulum stated that Borno is strategically located with the advantage of controlling a regional commercial hub.
Apart from the challenges posed by the insurgency, the governor added that the unmitigated forces of climate change also compounded the situation.
“We witnessed serious environmental degradation, joblessness and massive displacements.
“We sincerely thank God; this ugly situation is on the reverse now. Security is returning and all efforts are targeted at restoration of normalcy and revamping of the economy.
“I started with a campaign for a ‘quick return to farm’ that entailed opening up of the arable land, provision free seedlings and take-off grants and protection of the farmlands.
We also embarked upon massive irrigation programme in the secured locations. In addition, Government secured Central Bank facilities (Anchor Borrower and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme-AADS) to boost rice and irrigation farming and empower our farmers.
“We are not unaware of the vagaries of the climate change. I am making efforts through the Lake Chad Development Commission on how to mitigate the threats of desertification, rejuvenate the ecosystem and the Lake Chad itself.”
Responding, Awolowo said that Nigeria had missed Borno state’s contribution to non-oil exports, adding that he believes that in the near future, the state would be able to use its comparative advantages to generate jobs, which would act as an important mechanism in fighting the ongoing insurgency.