Why we engage stakeholders on Jos market rebuilding, by Lalong
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has explained that engagement with stakeholders on the rebuilding of the razed Jos Main market is deliberate, to allow citizens make input in the project.
While addressing participants, yesterday, the governor said the engagement was also to dispel rumours and misconceptions over the project, which has generated needless controversy.
According to Lalong, rebuilding the market is part of the fulfilment of his campaign promises to restore the lost glory of Jos, which relied so much on the iconic market, touted as the best in West Africa, and which attracted traders, tourists and visitors from within and outside the country until it was burnt down over 20 years ago.
He said the government made several efforts to rebuild the market by advertising and engaging many investors within and outside the country, who insisted on a bank guarantee from the government, as well as absolute control of the market until they recover their investment.
His words: “Government could not meet those conditions and continue looking for investors until Jaiz Bank came up with a proposal to fund the construction of the market 100 per cent with its money, with the state only providing the land as its equity.”
“Thereafter, a 60:40 sharing formula between the government and the bank will be used, for the bank to recover its expenses. The bank will have no business in running the market and will not own any shop.
“However, those who buy the shops will be issued a 40-year lease by the government for them to utilise the shops and recoup their money, after which the ownership reverts to the government. All the while, the Jos Main Market Authority (JMMA) will manage the facility, as it is the property of government.”
The governor, therefore, debunked rumours that the government was handing over the heritage of the state to an Islamic Bank for 40 years, describing it as false and a calculated attempt to truncate the laudable initiative.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Danladi Atu, who presented the report of engagements with the traders, religious leaders, elders, civil society, professional bodies, women groups, physically-challenged, traditional institutions, among others, said “the general view of the groups is that the market should be rebuilt, but with proper education and enlightenment on some of the misconceptions that have been making rounds in the media and other spaces.”