Posted by on 3/3/2003 10:34:23 AM

By virtue of the availability of a rich natural resource base, there are bright prospects for the future development of Plateau State in the new millennium. Positive advancement can be made in developing the agricultural, industrial, solid mineral, food processing and tourism sectors, for example.

This should be anchored on the practice of ecologically sound agricultural and forestry development along with local value added processing which is a key element in reducing poverty, promoting efficient management of natural resources and sustainable development. In addition to its rich agricultural and natural resource endowment, the state can also make great advances in the use of existing abundant agricultural residues, biomass resources which today constitute health and environmental hazards.

Along this line, industries which produce and process biomass into ethanol fuel, biogas, pulp and paper, etc, can be established. The systematic development and use of biomass resources, though little known in Plateau State or Nigeria at large, can be a catalyst for agri000cultural and industrial development with a bias towards small-scale economic activities (such as feed or fertilizer production from crop wastes sugar cane, sun flower, cotton seeds or groundnut). Essentially, these ventures have great potential for improved income generation, poverty alleviation, while simultaneously serving as a strategy for promoting a safe and healthy environment.

Another important prospect for the development of the state is the tourism industry. The potentials are already on ground vis-a-vis its scenic vistas, favourable natural climate, as well as a peaceful socio-political culture, such that with adequate funding through strategic planning, a solid economic base can be built for ensuring sustainable development.

Thus, it is possible to have advanced economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner through planning, adequate funding, reliable investment strategies, innovative production and efficient use of resources or facilities. While acknowledging the enormous prospects for the development of Plateau State, realization of the dream depends on effective governance.

The present government's emphasis on socio-economic re-engineering will succeed if it develops a culture of good governance that respects broad-based participation, probity, accountability, transparency and fundamental human rights of the people. It should try to match action with words, and possess the political will to forge ahead. In addition, there is a need for the maintenance of a close functional



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