From Chris EZE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government will generate the sum of N150 million from the commercialization of the state-owned palm estate situated at the Elebele axis of the state.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Doodei Week, who disclosed this shortly after the 63rd State Executive Council Meeting at Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Yenagoa, explained that, the Bayelsa Palm Estate has been concessioned to the Manufacturing and Marketing Company of Nigeria Limited (MAMCON), after a moratorium of six months with a concession fee of N150m for ten years.
The Commissioner who said the measure was part of efforts to diversify the state economy in the face of fall in federal allocation noted that, the government had also decided to partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the funding of aqua-culture projects like the 4,000 hectare rice farm at Isampou in the Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.
In the commercialisation agreement, the commissioner said that MAMCON agreed with the government to invest and revitalise the existing palm estate and to put in more infrastructure.
He further explained that, a plantain and Banana plantation will soon start, with an approval of 1000 hectare land to be acquired for the purpose.
Other projects include the Epie fish farm to be replicated in all the local government areas of the state and a central fish processing centre for both local and internal markets.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education, Deacon Markson Fefegha disclosed that, the state government had sent a bill; known as the ‘Bayelsa Higher Education Loan Financing scheme’ to the House of Assembly for passage into law.
According to Deacon Fefegha the purpose of the bill was to enable Bayelsans within Nigeria and abroad have access to a revolving loan that will be interest free, to further their higher educational careers and refund same, whenever they get employed.
The education commissioner also expressed deep concern over the current industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union, Niger Delta University chapter, calling on well meaning Bayelsans and other stakeholders to prevail on the striking lecturers to call off the strike, for the sake of the future of the students and the entire State.
“The development of the state depends on the development of the human capital, through education. The Government wants to take care of the needs of students not only through scholarship and bursary.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite explained that, the higher education revolving loan is for both under graduate and post graduate students of Bayelsa origin.