THE AGUDA ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT

1. Sustainable Development Plan

Kogi State requires its own Sustainable Development Plan that captures in clear terms, the development aspirations of the great people of the state. This plan will reveal the commitment of our Government to achieve a calculated, methodical and articulated development of the state. We will ensure its appropriate implementation through the annual budget. It will be an instrument used by our Government to sustain the state’s economy and to provide essential services in order to advance the desired  development goals of the State. The Plan will communicate these goals and objectives, and strategies for attaining them as well. The policies and strategies in the Plan are the bedrock that will determine actions (programmes and projects) to deliver services and infrastructure aimed at improving the wellbeing of our citizens in Kogi State.  The Plan will cover a period of 4 years at the first instance and have an enlarged execution component that will actively involve our Local Governments.

2. Priority Sectors:

Our plans have clearly identified key sectors/areas of development interest that we will be drivinga. With the aid of affirmative actions and delivery timelines, these action plans will be measurable, easy to evaluate and monitor. The priority Sectors are:

  • Investment Promotion
  • Agriculture and Participatory Rural Development
  • Education, ICT and Skills Acquisition
  • Tourism/ Solid Minerals
  • Water, Sanitation and Health

3.   The Strategic Innovation Focus 

Our leadership will thrive on actionable inputs from Kogi intellectuals, experts and captains of industry in promoting Strategic Innovation and Territorial Competitiveness. These carefully selected teams will engage investors, funding agencies, corporate bodies and sponsors on initiatives that can jumpstart economic revival on a daily basis. Removed from Civil Service bureaucracy, politics and with direct reports to the Economic Development Unit of the Governor’s Office, they will oversee:

  • Investment Promotion
  • Public Private Partnership Interventions 
  • Project Implementation, Monitoring and Delivery 
  • Public Procurement and Due Process 
  • Job Creation and Skills Development Initiatives 
  • Economic Affairs 

4. Capacity Building and Institutional Reforms:

Kogi State Government Institutions must now be competitive, transparently administered, and technologically driven as they deal with citizens and Investors alike. Our Government will build capacity in state institutions while re-aligning some of them. Laws will be modified to re-position some of our organizations in line with best practices, carefully attained with considerations for our workforce.  Capacity building and Institutional reforms would also be actively monitored by external auditors to forestall sabotage and abuse aimed at short-changing the people, the government and the process.

  • The Kogi Investment Promotion Agency: will be created to facilitate, attract and retain investments, especially Foreign Direct Investments. This agency will act as the One Stop Investment Shop to facilitate the ease of doing business in Kogi State thereby making Kogi state very competitive. The proposed Agency will take care of Investment promotions and Public Private Partnership Projects. 
  • Kogi Solid Minerals Development Company: will be incorporated to oversee joint venture investments with private and foreign investors in the solid minerals sector. It will operate as a Special Purpose Vehicle in obtaining mining licences, formalizing the mining sector and help diversify the State’s Economy.
  • The Kogi Internal Revenue Service: The law setting up the Kogi Board of Internal Revenue Should be repealed and replaced with The Kogi Internal Revenue Service: Tax laws in the state will be codified and multiple taxation eliminated. The State should do well to go for presumptive tax in a bid to widen its tax base.
  • Kogi Geographic Information Service: This will be charged with the automation of land administration in Kogi state from land mapping, allocation, approvals and certifications of titles. It will also embark on Systematic Land Title Registration for industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential and recreational uses. This will open up our state to investors and citizens, give our people security and empower title owners for commercial transactions. 

5. Poverty Alleviation Interventions and Programmes:

 Kogi State Empowerment and Microcredit Scheme: The Kogi State Empowerment and Micro-credit Scheme will provide the most needed but rarely accessible micro-credit to the very people at the frontier of poverty. This scheme will give opportunity to those who need micro finance to empower themselves and move out of the poverty trap by addressing the following challenges:

  • Collateral: Help the most vulnerable of our people avoid the problem of physical or financial collateral which prevents them from accessing credit for productive ventures by using social collateral 
  • High Interest Rates: Protect our disadvantaged citizens from money lenders (loan sharks) who charge exorbitant interests rates, thereby increasing their rates of returns.
  • Poverty cycle: Break the poverty cycle and liberate our people from debt trap and perpetual poverty by empowering them to begin or sustain their micro/small businesses and farms.
  • Graduate Unemployment: Ameliorate graduate unemployment through the use of graduates for the monitoring and hand-holding of the microcredit beneficiaries.

Critical Capacity Development Programmes

These will be developed and implemented as they will empower the people especially the young. These capacity development programmes will help in job creation at different levels

  • ICT and Entrepreneurship Capacity Programmes: For Holders of National Diploma and Graduates. This will entail the construction of talent hubs, business and Innovation Incubator, Arts and Entertainment Village among others.
  • Artisan Training Schemes: For Secondary School leavers and below who want to learn new skills or want to improve on their skills. This training can focus on electrical wiring, plumbing, tiling, masonry, painting, weaving, dying, sewing, garmenting, carpentry, and host of others.Funding of these programmes above will be sought and obtained from International donor agencies or partner banks of the State.
  • The Kogi Diaspora Trust Fund: Remittances to Nigeria rose every year over the last decade from $17 billion in 2006 to $25. billion in 2018. The Kogi State Government will facilitate the setting up of the Kogi State Diaspora Trust Fund, with the goal of bringing to life the Diaspora fund. This will help to compliment the State Government by attracting overseas development funding into the critical social sectors of the state and also mobilize Foreign Investment inflow into the Economic Sectors.

D. Affirmative Actions

These will be our quick wins at low costs to the government in some certain areas

  • Education: We shall introduce a Teachers Volunteer Scheme to compliment the teachings services in the public schools. Volunteers who are graduates and above, either working or not will be requested to teach students at weekends or holidays to improve performances of students especially at O’level exams and UTME.
  • Health: Our Government will work with corporate bodies in the state to adopt one primary or secondary health care centre across the state. This will involve construction and equipping of such hospitals in rural areas for the dwellers to have access to basic health services or amenities.
  • Agro Allied: The State Government should pursue policies that will promote Agri business along the agric value chain. (It includes agrichemicals, breeding, crop production -farming and contract farming, distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales). Our government will target exportation of such commodities. Public Private Partnership ventures are recommended for this.

E. Innovative programs

I. Entrepreneurship Training Program: The main objective is to enable entrepreneurs access and utilize appropriate business skills, information and services aimed at achieving a sustainable and competitive business in the long run. Entrepreneurs will be taken through key aspects of successfully starting, running and sustaining an enterprise.  The program targets mainly start-ups, early- stage businesses, businesses interested in expanding and, small and medium Enterprises (SMEs). 

II. Hands-on Technical skill Training for value addition: The technical skills training program is aimed at building capacities of MSMEs to enable them acquire the necessary basic skills to produce improved and high-quality products which will fetch high monetary values thus improving house hold income and promoting industrialization. Training areas will include; dairy (processing and packaging of dairy products), textile design (tie and dye), motor cycle repair and servicing, bakery technology, wine making, charcoal briquettes making and packaging, fruit juice processing, soap manufacture, value addition on oyster mushrooms among others. 

III. Cluster Development and Business Linkages: The cluster-based development approach will enable domestic entrepreneurs to integrate their business systems into the global value chain by providing economies of scale and recognizing the role of multiple stakeholders in the system. Cluster development helps to address the challenges of isolation in small firms by creating a critical mass of mutually beneficial business relations. The Business Linkages Programme as an initiative will link an SME/cluster to a bigger company (including Trans-National Companies) aimed at promoting the growth and survival of local businesses (SMEs) through capacity and capability enhancement. The programme will nurture SMEs to meet regional and international business standards and encourage global ventures to source locally from the SME clusters instead of sourcing from foreign firms. 

IV. Youth Apprenticeship Programme: This is an innovative programme where young graduates of business studies will be attached to SME businesses for 3 months to get practical business skills, while helping the SME in records management, marketing, business formalization skills and basic business management. The Youth Apprenticeship program (YAP) offers a mutually beneficial partnership that improves the employability of and provide skills to the unemployed youth by offering opportunity to work (through volunteering) with the Micro and small business. 

 We will set establish Kogi Microcredit Board will gather business information on companies to build a database of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kogi. The database will be used for: 

• Matchmaking (B2B) – helping suppliers find buyers and buyers find Suppliers. 

• Benchmarking – diagnosing and comparing companies against their competition 

• Supplier development – helping companies develop their capacity and capability using proven tools and methods. 

• Reporting – generation of other reports required by SMED. 

V. Sand database development technology: The Kogi Microcredit board will be established as a mixed-use business incubation centre called the Kogi Industrial Business Park (KIBP) to facilitate, support and nurture MSMEs. The incubation centre will assist emerging companies gain access to mentors, training, shared space, professional assistance, capital, and other services which will fast- track them to success. In addition, the board will set up work spaces and common facility centres for the small-scale industrialists in each of the Kogi Microcredit Industrial and Business Parks. The goal of this facility is to provide support to existing and start-up small scale manufacturing

Conclusion: 

Today we are facing key economic challenges as a nation, our government in Kogi state will adopt a Strategic and Innovative Economic Management to achieve sustainable development. We will set up a Fiscal Policy and Management Commission to address our fiscal sustainability and debt management issues.  It is imperative to promise that our administration will work round the clock to proffer solutions and implement the right programmes that will address our economic and social problems. Chiefly among these are job creation, diversification of our revenue base, promotion of investment, proactive measures to keep the peace and harmony, block leakages, and ensure prudence in the management of our state’s resourcesa.

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