Every year, 3 million young Nigerians are thrown into the labour market, without any tangible plan or enterprise platform to absorb them or keep them productively employed.
Imo state, as one of the leading states that churn out employable graduates contributes about 6% (180,000) of this number of young Nigerians annually pushed into the employment market.
Over 113million Nigerians (69% of Nigeria’s population) live in abject poverty. In Imo state, the poverty rate is 20% of her 3.9m population (780,000 Imolites).
The current economic outlook of Nigeria is not looking bright. The GDP growth of Nigeria has declined from a level of 1.9% in Q1, 2018 to 1.5% in Q2 of 2018. The Central Bank of Nigeria has warned that we may slip back into recession if this downward trend is not checked through massive diversifications of our economy and fiscal discipline.
Agriculture and solid minerals sector, remain two huge sectors that can help Nigeria and her constituent units to escape the current crude oil curse.
The Agriculture Sector, both upstream (cultivation and production) and downstream (Processing and Manufacturing) has the capacity to employ the larger percentage of the over 3million Nigerian youths and 180,000 Imo youths that are annually pushed into the unemployment market.
WHAT DO WE DO TO TRULY CREATE JOB JOB JOB AND FACTORY FACTORY FACTORY, using a very uniquely created Agro-Business Platform under a robust, transparent and scientific Private Public Partnership Arrangement that is self-funded, without putting undue debt burden on the balance sheet of Imo state from May 29, 2019?
Imo state must develop a home grown Agriculture/Agro-Business Promotion Policy that is backed by law to drive this.
Imo state has a land mass of 553,000 hectares of arable land. Imo state can comfortably dedicate 20% (110,600) of this land mass to execute this unique PPP driven small holder scheme Agro-business initiatives that can create over 331,800 direct jobs over the next four years across the whole Agric/Agro-Business value chain to be designed, structured, financed and executed in such debt self- liquidating format.
AFDB HAS SET ASIDE OVER $24BILLION FUNDS FOR AGRIC DEVELOPMENT.
The United States Government is also setting up a special development financing agency, funded to the tune of $60billion for intervention in Africa to curb the menace of the Chinese and their debt trap diplomacy. This fund will also invest in equities across the African space and in those sectors that can help take away the hundreds of millions of Africans from the extreme poverty zone.
These funds are readily available for 30 years, at 1% concessionary interest rate and 5 year moratorium (Grace period). Some of them come by way of grants and equity participations with robust technical aids support and human capital development in those specialized Agric/Agro-Industrial areas.
The next Imo state government can unlock up to $60million (N21.72bn) of this fund sustainably and incrementally over the next 3 years
THE AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES AREAS AND VALUE CHAIN TO BE COVERED ARE:
1. Cassava and Whole Cassava Value Chain
2. Palm Plantations and Whole Palm Value Chain
3. Poultry and Poultry Feeds mills (The whole value chain)
4. Piggery and Pork Processing
5. Maize and Maize Processing
6. Soya Value Chain
7. Citrus, Legumes and Veggies.
The one million dollar question that should agitate the minds of Ndi Imo is:
HOW MANY OF THOSE JOSTLING TO GOVERN IMO STATE in 2019 has a clearly defined/mapped out, feasible and executable development blue prints of how to set up this value chained, PPP driven Agric/Agro-Business Arrangements/Schemes that can easily create hundreds of Small and Medium Sized Agro-Business Factories and over 331,800 jobs in Imo state over the next 3years?
Projects with timelines for their delivery, how they will sources the resources to execute them, and who the participants (local and international) for the executions are and how to partner with them transparently?
How many of them have blue prints on how to provide State Wide Health Insurance Scheme that provides universal basic healthcare services to our people?
How many of them understands and has the blue print on how to build up the whole health infrastructure (hardware, software, technology and human resources) of Imo state to make Imo state the centre of Health Tourism in the South East and Nigeria over the next 4 years?
How many of them understands and has the blue print to modify progressively and upwardly the Peter Obi Education transformation model in Anambra state, to enable us restore the lost glory of our dear Imo state as number in the education excellence pyramid of Nigeria over the next 4 years?
How many of them understands and has the blue print on how to rebuild the decayed infrastructure in Imo state over the next 4 years?
How many of them understands and has the blue print on how to tackle, restructure and refinance the huge N136billion debts burden in the books/balance sheet of Imo state?
How many of them understands and has the blue print of how to tackle, restructure, re-balance and offset the huge pension arrears obligations of the Imo state government?
The next governor of Imo state come May 29, 2019, is not about to walk into any tea party. He or she must be profoundly cerebral, prudent, competent, intellectually above average, capable, focused with high level of integrity. He or she must have capacity to identify the best talented and honest Imolites that can help him or her execute this onerous assignment of repositioning our state from her current path of decay.
God please help us.
Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri, FICA