Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, has disclosed that arrangements have been concluded for the disbursement of N200 million to small and medium scale enterprises in the state.
He also said efforts were being made to revitalise the ailing Shamrock Fertiliser Company in the state.
Wamakko made the remark at the recent formal opening of the third edition of the national trade fair, held at the Trade Fair Complex, Sokoto. He stated that the measure was aimed at stimulating and enhancing business activities in the state; thereby enhancing job opportunities for the youth.
The governor, who was represented by the Speaker State House of Assembly, Alhaji Lawali Zayyana, maintained that no country could develop without strong economic base and as such his administration would not relent in ensuring the growth of businesses in the state. According to him, the state government had accorded priority to the development of small and scale industries, in view of its critical role in stimulating economic growth. He noted that the measure became necessary in view of the need to diversify the economy of the state in order to reduce dependence on crude oil.
On the comatose Shamrock fertiliser company, Wamakko assured listeners that the firm would soon be revitalised and upgraded in order to begin the production of fertiliser at competitive price.
“The present administration is committed to not only rehabilitating the ailing Shamrock fertiliser company but would upgrade it to produce quality fertiliser for the benefit of the farmers in the state,” he said.
In a remark, Chairman of Conference of the Northern States Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (CONSCCIMA), Alhaji Sanusi Maijama’a, decried the dearth of industries in the Northern states, which further worsen youth unemployment and poverty in the region.
He noted with concern the dearth of small and medium enterprises in Northern states, which could be counted on finger tips.
According to him, the major challenges facing small and medium enterprises in the North included lack of access to needed technology and finance at low interest rate as well as effective participation in local and international trade.
Maijama’a observed that the state of the existing ones was weak while access to finance was very difficult, which makes private sector investment not promising.
“From Sokoto to Maiduguri and Katsina to Bauchi, .the numerical strength of small and medium enterprises can be counted on finger tips while incentive for industrial development is not clear. “Thus, the prospects of private sector investment are not promising as our youth look up to the public sector for jobs that may not be there,” he said.
The Chairman asserted that the gradual promotion of small and medium enterprises was essential to economic growth of the North. He said the role of trade fairs in trade promotion could not be over-emphasised, as it provides an avenue where goods and services are sold, ideas are exchanged and business relationships are established. Maijama’a called on state governments in the North to utilise and harness the abundant natural resources in the region for the development of small and medium enterprises.
In his remark, the Sokoto state Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Shehu Achida, said the aim of organising the trade fair was to draw the attention of both local and international investors to the enormous potential available in the state. Achida emphasised that the state government attached great importance to trade fairs, exhibitions of solid minerals and agricultural resources in order to promote the economic potential in the state.