By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Bauchi State Government has announced the release of a soft loan of one billion Naira to the State Fertilizer Blending Company to commence production of the commodity ahead of this year’s planting season.
The State Governor, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed who announced the release of the funds, attributed the delay in the commencement of fertilizer production to the N700 million debt owed the company by the Sovereign Wealth Fund through the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative Committee
Speaking Tuesday at the company’s premises during an inspection visit in continuation of tour to projects site being executed by his administration, the governor assured that his government will not play politics with the agricultural sector.
While explaining that his administration has since settled the N700 million debt, added, “We have paid our debt and we are not going to play the old practice of doling out fertilizer for votes because such retrogressive tendencies will not take us to anywhere”.
Bala said, “There is no free breakfast anywhere considering the fact that all the monies we are monthly getting from the federation account, sometimes N6b, sometimes N7b for both the state and local government councils is going to the payment of salaries and pensions to civil servants and pensioners who were just one percent of our population”.
He added, “We want to take care of the 99 percent population of Bauchi state people who are mostly farmers and traders and the only way we can ensure food security is to provide adequate fertilizer at affordable rate to meet the needs of our farming communities”.
It is for this reason, the governor went on, that the state government under his able leadership went a step further to give the company N1 billion soft loan to be able to blend the fertilizer in earnest as the planting season is just around the corner.
According to him, the company has given his government the assurance that by the end of the month of May this year, the state is going to have enough fertilizer at affordable rate to meet farmers need.
The Governor expressed hope that the state commissioner of agriculture and the Bauchi State Agricultural Supply Commission (BASAC) will establish a system where the fertilizer would be made available in all the nook and crannies of the state for the farmers to access.
Senator Bala Mohammed told the chairman of the fertilizer company, Hon. Bappah Aliyu that as the Governor, he has played his own part, hence the need for him and the management of the company to play their own.
The chairman of the company, Hon. Bappah Aliyu Misau has in response expressed gratitude to the governor for the loan, stressing that the gesture will help in revamping the company for optimum performance, assuring that he would not let the government down.