Thursday, 20 June 2019

6 posers for Gov Ayade's rice seeds and seedlings factory

20 June 2019 

Following the successes already recorded by the current state government in securing the disposition of the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to supply rice seedlings to the six states of the south south geopolitical zone, a contract worth three billion naira (N3, 000, 000, 000. 00) an activist in the state, Agba Jalingo, with ties to the African Action Congress, AAC has posed six questions to His Excellency the Executive Governor of Cross River State NEGROIDHAVEN has garnered. 

The six posers seek clarity on amongst other things the ownership, management, investors, character of partnership, etc of the Cross River Rice Seed and Rice Seedling Factory. 

Jalingo posed these inquiries to the Cross River State Government, Thursday, through a social thread titled, Well Done, Governor Ayade!!! according to which he asked: 'Is the Rice City fully owned by the Cross River state government? Is the Rice City a PPP (Public Private Partnership)? Is the Rice City a JV (Joint Venture)? Is the Rice City a BOT (Build Operate and Transfer)? What is the management model and structure? How are the staff paid?'

Speaking earlier, Jalingo commended His Excellency for the says agricultural policy describing it as one of the best ideas of the governor. 

According to him, 'Last year when President Buhari visited Calabar to open the Cross River Rice City, I wrote a long epistle to eulogise governor Ayade for this innovative thinking.

'I stand today again to say that I have not reneged on this avowal. The rice city is one of the best ideas governor Ayade brought to the table. Even if I were governor of the state, I won't join every other governor to go into just rice farming.

'The CBN Anchor Borrowers Program was a huge off-take market for rice seeds and seedlings that the governor was quick to identify to divest capital flight back to our state and the commitment of Mr. President when he visited Calabar, to support the Rice City and his subsequent directive to the CBN to partner with the Cross River state government and supply rice seeds and seedlings to States under the Anchor Borrowers Program, was a huge leverage that can sustain the venture. To see that the movement of seedlings has also commenced, after the state secured N3billion order, according to the governor, is a very good feeling.'

The critic decried the situation where the buzz around the rice seeds and rice seedlings factory as well as the garment factory are observable only when the governor is seen to be around. For him his fear is that the factory may die off with the exit of His Excellency. 

According to him, 'At the moment, the governor is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Rice City. He is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Garment Factory. It is only when he is around that we see cameras and trucks picking up stuff from the factories. Once he is not around, the fanfare isn't there. That means the day he will cease to be around, the factories will cease to exist.

'Both the Garment Factory and the Rice City have wanton government interference from the governor himself, SAs and PAs on this and that. Years after investing so much money to set up these factories, workers are still being paid from government purse, and no serious business survives on such whimps. The ranch resort is a case study.

'Those are my biggest fears for these projects. Remember Tinapa. Beautiful excellent idea. Completed infrastructure on one of the most beautiful scenery in the country, yet abandoned immediately after the visioner left because certain things weren't institutionalized before his departure.

'Shall we walk the same path or shall we learn from history and do the needful, by quickly extricating these factories from the encumberance of wanton government interference and putting up inclusive best business practices that will ensure sustainable profitability.

'Until that is done, it is not yet uhuru but so far, I say congratulations to my Governor for teaching the rest of Nigeria new methods of doing this rice thing.' 

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