THE Kogi Government has earmarked N1 billion for the production of cassava, rice, cashew and other staple crops across the 21 Local Government Areas of the state in 2017.
The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, disclosed this at the presentation of the breakdown of 2017 budget at Government House in Lokoja on Thursday.
Oloruntoba said that the thrust policy on agriculture was to produce food and ensure food security for the people of the state, its neighboring states and Nigeria at large.
He said that it would create employment including youth empowerment and provide enabling environment to generate a high GDP from agriculture.
Oloruntoba, who is also the Supervising Commissioner for Agriculture, said Kogi would promote private sector participation in agriculture, which would anchor on sound policy framework.
According to him, the development of the agriculture value chain will cover farming, processing and storage, marketing and helping to re-launch the state’s economic base.
“N600 million has been earmarked to construct one mega cassava milling processing machines and one mega rice milling processing machines in each of the senatorial district.
“Irrigation farming scheme, procurement of agricultural inputs, strategic grain reserve scheme, construction of fertiliser store, and provision of extension services among others had been planned for in the 2017 budget,” he said.
The commissioner said that the breakdown of the 2017 budget was to highlight the key areas of government expenditure on five thematic areas as contained in the New Direction Blueprint.
He named those areas as education, health, job creation & youth development, infrastructural development & utilities, and productive public service & pension reforms.
Reviewing the 2016 budget performance, the commissioner noted that N473,316, 692,943 was approved as capital expenditure, but the actual expenditure as at Dec. 2016 stood at N30,043,714,398, representing 63.49 per cent performance.
In his remarks, Kogi Commissioner for Finance, Mr Ashiru Idris, said the political will of the present administration would ensure maximum implementation of the budget.
“We will do more to reduce leakages through adequate sensitisation, so that people will know that it is no longer business as usual.
“Tax payers must have value for their money therefore, the money will be spent judiciously. We will also have a sustainable debt management,” Idris said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Gov. Yahaya Bello had presented a budget of about N174.45 billion to the State House of Assembly for the 2017 fiscal year.