Stakeholders task Kogi government on mineral deposits, job creation
While speaking in Abuja recently on what they termed ‘Kogi Vision’, the group urged the state government to take advantage of the vast mineral deposit in the state to create medium scale industries for employment generation.
According to them, a focus on mineral deposits will gradually diminish the number of people who are in civil service and not efficiently used for qualitative service delivery.
A Professor of Criminology and the Sociology of Law at the University of Jos, Etanibi Alemika, said that the state had not realised her potential after 28 years of her existence, despite abundance of natural potentials.
“I am not concerned about the tenure of individuals. I am concerned about the state in terms of what goes on and my argument basically is that the state is 28 years old, in that number of years, it has not achieved what it ought to have achieved within that period. I believe different governments made their contributions but the cumulative effect has not been what it should be,” he said.
Alemika stressed the need for the state to rapidly find opportunities for economic growth in the private sector to reduce overdependence on a civil service jobs.
He said: “I think the state needs to find opportunity and in such a way that most people in the state will be looking for jobs in the private sector and not in government agencies and to do that means you have to develop infrastructure within the state.
“You have to help the private sector to move into where there are potential like agriculture, use the fast mineral deposits in the state to create medium scale industries, so that employment will be generated in those sectors and then, you’ll gradually diminish the number of people who are in civil service and not being efficiently used.”
He said one of the challenges was having too many people who are not being efficiently deployed, adding that the state has failed to provide the needed tools for workers to work.
“So they are just idle and in that case, it is more or less a waste. So, what we need to do is to have that number of staff that will efficiently deliver services and then, of course those who are not needed within the public service are gainfully employed in other sectors, especially private sector or in their own enterprises.
Also speaking, founder of Kogi vision, Dr. Thomas Ohikere, explained that the vision was about changing the narrative on Kogi State, saying enough of negative stories about the state.
“When you discuss Kogi State, everything is about non-payment of salary when we can actually develop the private sector properly and the private sector can provide the needed environment.
“Because in any situation in the world, when you have high economic activity, there will be improved earning for the government and improved revenue for the people. Ours is to provide the enabling environment, provide information and resource environment for the government to be able to tap from us, the private sector to tap from us and Kogi will be able to develop better.”
He regretted that, despite having the highest opportunity of 32 out of the 54 mineral resources in the country, Kogi people were dying of poverty and ignorance.
“What we are trying to do now is to do system engineering. This is an economic system reengineering through the media, through information by providing the required information as a major prerequisite for the development of Kogi State because absence of information is the major cause of the crisis in Kogi State.
“There is no reasonable information on the potentialities of the state. When I say poverty, I am referring to the high level of ignorance by the people. People are dying of ignorance. People are dying, not realising the economic power they have.
“So, our own now is to provide the Kogi nation as a non-stop button where you just go and get any information you require in Kogi. Any information you require in Kogi State is meant to assist the government and the private sector archive greater things.”
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