Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has disclosed that some Chinese companies have indicated interest to start importing about 200 shipping containers of sesame on a weekly basis from the state.
Recall that on December 20, 2019, Mr Matawalle had travelled to Beijing, China to meet with eleven Chinese business investors who have indicated interest to invest in the state.
A statement signed by the governor’s Special Adviser, Zailani Bappa disclosed that the meeting was scheduled on the request of the business companies, “in view of the excellent and conducive environment for investments to thrive in the state”.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday to intimate people on the outcome of his Beijing visit, the governor added that other investors across different business endeavors have expressed readiness to come to the state for investment.
Mr Matawalle said: “In the area of agriculture, I met a group of Chinese investors who are interested in sesame (ridi).
“They require about 200 shipping containers of the product every week.”
According to him, the investors are committed to empowering farmers by giving them improved seeds and other forms of support to enable them meet the requirement of the investors.
The governor revealed that his team had been making efforts within the past seven months to turn around the economy of the state.
He said the State has enormous potentials in wide-ranging sectors, notably agriculture and mining.
Mr Matawalle, however, noted that they had a challenge in properly harnessing and transforming these sectors in line with the state’s development needs.
READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE GOVERNOR’S MEDIA BRIEFING BELOW:
TEXT OF THE MEDIA BRIEFING BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF ZAMFARA STATE, HON. (DR) BELLO MOHAMMED, MON (MATAWALLEN MARADUN), ON TUESDAY 21ST JANUARY 2020
Good evening, gentlemen of the press,
- I have convened this press conference to brief you on the efforts my team and I have been making within the past seven months to turn around the economy of our dear state and create a more prosperous society.
- As you know, Zamfara State has enormous potentials in wide-ranging sectors, notably agriculture and mining. We, however, have a great challenge in properly harnessing and transforming these sectors in line with our development needs.
- Agriculture, which is the primary activity of the people has primarily remained for self-subsistence and the technique of production has remained essentially crude and premodern. Mining sector is dominated by the activities of artisanal miners who equally rely on crude tools for mineral exploration.
- Governance in today’s world entails making conscious efforts to attract investments as government alone cannot meet the numerous needs of the people and meet the multidimensional challenges of development. This is what informed my decision to embark upon tour of some countries where I had the opportunity to speak to business communities.
- I am glad to inform you that these tours have so far started yielding fruitful results. Many investors across different business endeavours have expressed readiness to come to Zamfara State and invest.
- In the area of agriculture, I met a group of investors who are interested in sesame (ridi). They require about 200 shipping containers of the product every week. The investors are committed to empowering our farmers by giving them improved seeds and other forms of support to enable them meet the requirement of the investors.
- Also, as the current policy of the Federal Government has created huge benefits for our local rice producers, a Chinese company has agreed to supply an improved variety of rice seeds, which could be harvested 5 times in a year, to our farmers. The company would also supply machines that could process 240 tons of rice per day.
- While in China, we visited the Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, which specializes in neem tree production and processing, among other fields. The Institute has collected a sample of our neem tree seedlings and it confirmed that they have the best organic components for the production of pharmaceuticals and pomade, among others. The Institute has, therefore, pledged its willingness to support Zamfara State in the area of neem tree production and processing.
- The Institution has also offered 50 slots for admission of Zamfara State indigenes to study relevant engineering courses.
- You may recall that I stated during my inaugural address the desire of my administration to collaborate with foreign partners to introduce palm oil tree plantations in the state. The Central Bank of Nigeria has already expressed readiness to assist the state in this regard. However, preliminary soil tests conducted across the state by experts have shown that our soil is not suitable for cultivation of the crop. Further confirmatory investigations are currently being carried out in China.
- I have time and again expressed the desire of my administration to revitalize textile production in the state. Towards this end, we have dedicated 100,000 hectares of land for massive cotton production during the 2020 wet season farming. Farmers would be supplied with an improved variety of seeds from China.
- In the area of mining, I have met miners in Russia and China who have expressed willingness to come to Zamfara State and invest the moment the current ban on mining is lifted. I met His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari last week where, among other things, I appealed to him to consider the possibility of lifting the ban on mining activities in the state.
- You may recall that the ban on mining was slammed in response to the spate of killings across Zamfara State, which some reports attributed to the scramble for Zamfara gold. However, banning the economic activity did not in any way deflate the wave of banditry and other crimes until the recent peace efforts by my administration. It is my opinion that while there might be a connection between primary resources and conflicts in other climes, in Zamfara it was a case of intercommunal rift poorly handled and managed. Now that peace has been restored coupled with our efforts to attract investors into the mining sector, there is the need for the lifting of the ban on the activity.
- In the area of tourism, some investors have shown their desire to turn Kotorkoshi Rock into a place of tourism. We are also committed to exploring and maximally utilising all our tourism attraction centres such as the Kuyambana Game Reserve, Namoda Tomb and a host of other monuments at Dutsi and other parts of Zamfara State.
- In the area of security, you are fully aware of our efforts to secure Zamfara State right from the day one of my administration. Our strategy for addressing the security challenge and repositioning the State to take its rightful position in the comity of the States of Nigerian federation remains dialogue and reconciliation. It is a continuous process which has been yielding the desired results. Only three weeks back, a group of bandits that have repented surrendered over 80 high calibre weapons and thousands of live ammunition. As part of our push to strengthen security across the state, the Inspector General of Police has approved the deployment of 2 mobile squadrons, one in Shinkafi while the other in Maradun.
- In the area of civil service restructuring, you may recall that we took corrective measures to address some of the key issues affecting our civil service. Naturally, these decisions did not go down well with some individuals. For example, in the Internal Revenue Service, we discovered that the organisation has over 300 staff without commensurate output. Consequently, some of the staff who are not qualified to work at the organisation were redeployed to relevant stations. This generated insinuations by some of the affected staff on social media. I would like to use this opportunity to remind all civil servants on the need to adhere strictly with the ethics of the civil service. Civil servants, even where they have genuine ground for grievances, should channel such grievances through appropriate means based on the established procedure and the civil service rules.
- As you aware, I have been following a case involving an indigene of Zamfara State, Ibrahim Abubakar Ibrahim, one of the known Qur’anic memorizers and reciters in the State who was detained in Saudi Arabia on allegations of importing banned substances into the country. I have also visited Mr President for intervention to save the life of this gentleman. I am happy to inform you that Mr President has shown concern on this case and recently directed the Attorney General and Hon. Minister of Justice to follow up the issue and secure the final release of Ibrahim Ibrahim.
- On the issue of the minimum wage, government has established a committee on the issue. The committee has toured many states with a view to sharing from their experience. I assure all that the N30,000 minimum wage would be implemented as soon as we receive the report of the committee.
- Finally, I want to seize this opportunity to call on the members of the press to always adhere to the ethics of their profession. Reporting unconfirmed events is not only unprofessional but also unpatriotic. I am particularly making this call with regards to the recent attack in Gummi where 14 people were killed, but some armchair journalists reported outrageous figures of 30 or 34.