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PLATEAU STATE AND ITS DEBT PROFILE..... The Way Out, By Hon. Zachariah Sunday Diwong JP

His Excellency, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang
Executive Governor, Plateau State

"There is now an urgent need for every citizen of Plateau State who means well for the state to put away every difference, and bring in suggestions and ideas on how we can salvage Plateau State." Hon. Z Diwong DG, FSGD

It is no longer news that the present administration of His Excellency, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang, the Plateau State Governor inherited an outrageous debt accrued by his predecessor in office has risen to over two hundred and fifty billion naira.

This humungous debt was incurred by the past government, under the leadership of Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, the immediate past Governor of the state.

As if that is not enough, civil servants in the state have not been paid for the past five (5) months and this led to civil servants embarking on a strike action that is still in place till date, to push home their demands.

Now the present Governor, H.E Barr. Caleb Mutfwang, is battling to pay the civil servant's salaries which, when summed up, is over Eleven Billion naira (#11,000,000,000:00).

The most devastating scenario here is that, the past administration of Barr. Simon Bako Lalong left the state treasury almost empty, compared to the debt he incurred for the State.

It is on record, as made known to the people of Plateau State by the present Governor, H.E. Barr. Caleb Mutfwang, that a sum of One Billion One Hundred Million Naira (#1,100,000,000:00) was what the past administration of Barr. Simon Bako Lalong left in the Plateau State treasury.

Today, the entire civil servants in the state, both State and Local Government are on an indefinite strike action.

This strike action by the civil servants has further crippled revenue generation in the state.

To worsen the situation in the state, some parts of the state are worst hit by banditry attack thereby further devastating commercial activities in the affected parts.

Today the present administration of H.E Barr. Caleb Mutfwang is left alone to find a profound and lasting solution to the devastating situation in the state.

Barr. Caleb Mutfwang, who is fully prepared to take Plateau State out of this ugly trend, has the courage to approach banks for loans to temporarily solve part of the problems in the state.

According to reports, his priority is the return of the civil servants to work. Secondly, it aims to reduce the hardship on the farmers who are faced with banditry attacks.

My concern, as a citizen of Plateau State, is how the Governor, H.E Barr. Caleb Mutfwang can service the accumulated huge debt and also deliver dividends of democracy to the people of Plateau State.

This should be the thought of every well meaning citizen of Plateau State.

There is now an urgent need for every citizen of Plateau State who means well for the state to put away every difference, and bring in suggestions and ideas on how we can salvage Plateau State.

As my own contribution, His Excellency, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang should have a critical look at the following:

1. Declare a State of Emergency on insecurity in the state.

While working closely with the National Security Agencies, the Governor should create a Ministry of Internal Security in the state to design and coordinate a well thought out security architecture for the state.

* The creation of a state security outfit should not be overemphasized.

* Our Hunters, Vigilante and retired officers of the Armed Forces should be engaged in the fight against banditry in the state.

* Inaugurate an advisory committee for the internal Security outfit to be headed by retired senior officers of the forces.

Note: Plateau State has a high number of retired senior officers in the Forces.

* They must stand to the challenge of defending the State.

The need to establish a Strike Force Base in attack flash points should be considered. This is where there will be not less than fifty 50 soldiers stationed per point, to complement the military checkpoints in the state.

2. Immediate restructuring of the revenue driven mechanism in the state for efficiency and accountability.

By this I mean all the various parastatals that are capable of generating revenue, no matter the size.

The Ministry of internal Revenue and Ministry of Lands and Survey should be considered for such visitation.

3. International Trade.

The Plateau State is now ripe for international trade.

* Plateau State is home to assorted solid minerals deposits.

* Solid mineral deposits in the state are similar to the crude oil deposit in the south.

* I advise Governor Barr. Caleb Mutfwang to take a courageous step for the state to apply for exploration and mining rights or permission 

This will enable the state government to explore the means of mining our minerals in large quantities to feed the international market and attract foreign exchange as revenue for the state.

4. Organized Agric Market.

The Plateau State is purely an Agrarian State.

* Plateau State has an existing airport capable of lifting agricultural produce from the State to neighboring states and to foreign countries.

Let such markets be established and coordinated by the state government.

* I advise that Plateau State Should begin plans to establish Agric international Markets in three of the geopolitical zones of the state.

Followed by the establishment Markets Management Board (if not in existence), to be accountable for its Management.

5. The Hospitality industry in Plateau State is a shadow of its past.

* A visit to the Jos wildlife park will shock you.

* Talk of site attraction areas (Touristic Areas), these are not well kept.

All these are God's gift revenue generating sites for the state.

* There is a need for the present government to source for partnership with private investors to reawaken the hospitality industry.

* Plateau State is naturally endowed with excellent weather that attracts foreigners who visit Nigeria to settle in Plateau whether permanently or temporarily.

* We must take full advantage of it.

6. The Sports market has been totally forgotten by the past government, this should not be so in the present administration.

*Plateau State was known as a breeding ground for international sport talents.

* The likes of Sambo Choji, Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Segun Odegbami, Obinna Nsofor, Sunday Mba and present Captain of the Super Eagle, Ahmed Musa all started their football careers here in Plateau State before they found their way to their foreign clubs.

*Huge foreign currency was involved in their transfer.

Why is this not happening now? 

* Yet the Plateau State Government is still paying a huge amount of money in maintaining our own prestigious club, "Plateau United."

* The hunt for talented youths in the state, for all sports, must commence immediately to enable the state to reactivate its sports market.

* To enable Plateau State Governor, His Excellency Barr. Caleb Mutfwang to achieve the desired good for the State, he must take a drastic measure towards appointing experienced and capable hands in his cabinet.

* He needs highly innovative and active hands. This is not the time for the present administration to bring in weak hands and expect a good result.

Finally, I pray for wisdom, sound mind and sound health for our Dear Governor, His Excellency Barr. Caleb Mutfwang to transform Plateau State beyond its past glory.

Long Live Plateau State
Long Live Nigeria.

Hon. Zachariah Sunday Diwong.
Director General, FSGD

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