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State of the States: Sokoto

Usman Dan Fodiyo tomb
Usman Dan Fodiyo tomb

September 28, (THEWILL) – There are concerns that Nigeria’s deepening revenue challenge may escalate into a financial implosion, with the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (sub-nationals), being the worst hit. The situation is aggravated by the nation’s escalating public debt stock (now at N33 trillion). The debt stock comprises domestic and external loan obligations of the Federal Government and the sub-nationals.

With over 80 percent of the nation’s revenue committed to debt servicing annually, governments at all levels are struggling to survive. There is little left for capital budget, pay salaries  and undertake other priorities to grow the economy. Moreover, there is a limit to which the people and corporates could be taxed. Yet, profligacy takes the centre of our governance space while frugality assumes the back seat.

As such, the sub-nationals are hemorrhaging huge resources in paying salaries and other emoluments of a bloated bureaucracy. To survive, they are urged to diversify their resource base, embark on aggressive internally generated revenue (IGR) and depend less on the shrinking federal allocations.

The purpose of the State of the States project, is to present evidence-based alternatives. These include avenues for the sub-nationals to become more viable and less dependent on the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) – referred to as  Abuja handout.

State of the States, a bi-weekly publication, will feature two states per edition. It endeavours to unearth hidden treasures in each state and ascertain,  through consultations and evidence-based survey, areas of comparative advantages and economies of scale. The publication will show-case, in no exaggerated terms, the socio-economic status of each state and highlight the opportunities and threats.

Furthermore, State of the States will examine existing realities that hinge on sector-specific areas of competitive advantage – Agriculture, Tourism, Transportation, Education & Skill Acquisition, Wellbeing and MSMEs.  Ultimately, the project seeks to create the desired spotlight on the sub-nationals to motivate them into something different for better results. We have featured Lagos and Ogun, Kwara and Kogi, Anambra and Enugu, Benue and Taraba.

This week periscopes Sokoto and Kebbi.

SOKOTO

Sokoto State was carved out of the then North Western State in February, 1976. Its capital and largest city is Sokoto located by the confluence of the Rima and Sokoto rivers. It is at the far northwest of the Nigerian border with the Republic of Niger to the north, Zamfara State to the east, Kebbi State to the south-east and Benin Republic to the west.

Tambuwal Caricature

Sokoto state is said to be in the dry Sahel in the sandy Savannah with isolated hills. It is described as a very hot area with an average temperature of 23.3°C (82.9 °F). Meanwhile the maximum daytime temperatures for most of the year generally is under 40 °C (104.0 °F).

The dryness makes the heat bearable. The warmest months are February to April when daytime temperatures are said to exceed 45 °C (113.0 °F).

The rainy season is from June to October during which showers are a daily occurrence. The rains cannot, however, be compared to wet tropical regions. Hamattan is usually experienced from late October to February during the cold season and it comes with the wind of Sahara dust. The rest of the season in the region is dry and allows cultivation of crops such as millet, rice corn, cereal, beans and some vegetables.

Modern Sokoto is a major trade centre in leather crafts (a significant export), kola nuts, goatskins and sheepskins, cattle  and camel hides, sorghum, millet, rice, fish, peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, onions, and tobacco. A nearby cement plant uses the limestone which abounds in the state.

FACT-FILE:

Local government area:  23

Land Area:10.628sqmi

Population: 4.8  million @ 2019

Registered businesses: 107

Public primary schools:  1,968 circa

Public secondary schools:  180 circa

University: (Two) Federal – 1, State – 1

Polytechnic:  State – 1

College of Education:  State –  1

College of Agriculture: State – 1

School of Nursing: (4) – mid-wifery and nursing 3,

Hospital – 1

School of Health Technology: State – 3

Technical Schools: (7) Federal – 1, State- 6

Total Revenue: N65.91bn

Total Tax: N10.55bn @ 2020

FAAC:  N54.11bn @ 2020 (82.10% of total revenue)

IGR: N11.79bn @ 2020 (17.9 % of total revenue)

Domestic Debt: N42.3bn @ 2020

External Debt: $37.512m @ 2020

Unemployment rate: 13.9% @ 2020

Airport: Sadiq Abubakar III International Airport

Natural Resources:

Gold, tantalite, lime stone, phosphate, gypsum, copper, call, columbite, zinc, colin, talk, brine, iron-ore, iluminate, sand, clay, granite, flakes, salt, and hydrocarbon.

Tourist Attraction:

The Palace of the Sultan of Sokoto popularly referred  to as the Seat of Caliphate  is a magnificent structure that depicts culture and tradition of the people.

Sultan of Sokoto palace

Surame Cultural Landscape is described as an ancient city created in the 16th century  by its first king, Muhammudu Kanta Sarkin Kebbi.

Tomb of Uthman-Dan Fodio.

Waziri Junaidu History and Culture Museum.

Sokoto Museum – a place that tells the history of the people.

Gilbadi Rock Formation.- natural ‘architecture’

 

Mining

Sokoto State has about 20 solid mineral and natural resources in commercial quantities. The discovery has further given room to economic diversification. The state government said it has employed the service of experts to research on available mineral resources and determine their commercial viability.

Coal and other mineral resources abound in the state.
Coal and other mineral resources abound in the state.

At the first phase of its findings, 20 varieties of solid minerals including coal were identified .Others earlier discovered include phosphate for making fertilizer, gold, limestone, gypsum, iron ore, copper, columbite, tantalite, zinc and kaolin.

A cement company in the state has expressed interest in the usage of the coal which abounds in the area to power its plant. “BUA will use coal sourced from Sokoto to fuel the 40MW power plant being constructed at the factory”, BUA founder, Abdussamad Rabiu, said recently.

Sokoto Promotes All-season Farming

The Sokoto state government in a bid to boost the agricultural sector invests billions of Naira to subsidise the price of fertilizer for its farmers during the cropping season.

The huge investment in dam construction provides avenue for successful mechanized farming in the state
The huge investment in dam construction provides avenue for successful mechanized farming in the state
Rice Production: Leveraging the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme is an incentive for rice cultivation.
Rice Production: Leveraging the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme is an incentive for rice cultivation.
Transportation: The extreme location of the state makes long-haul a lucrative business
Transportation: The extreme location of the state makes long-haul a lucrative business

“We have bought 500,000 bags of fertilizer at the cost of N6,800 per 50kg bag but we have decided to sell the product to our farmers at the subsidised cost of N4,000 per bag. In all, we are spending the sum of N1.4 billion to subsidise the product.

Non-banking financial services: This will offer the much needed services and also financial inclusion.
Non-banking financial services: This will offer the much needed
services and also financial inclusion.

“This intervention becomes necessary in view of our determination to boost agriculture in the state and to encourage new entrants into the sector.

Silos: Commodity preservation is necessary for sustained food and raw material supply.
Silos: Commodity preservation is necessary for sustained food and raw material supply.
Healthcare: The severely hot weather creates health challenges; the state is good for healthcare-related investments.
Healthcare: The severely hot weather creates health challenges;
the state is good for healthcare-related investments.

In our determination to make the sector self-sustaining, the government will not relent in its effort to provide necessary measures to empower agriculture knowing it’s the major occupation in the state”, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal said during this year’s planting season.

Tambuwal said the government will buy 25,000 metric tons of fertilizer at the cost of N3.4 billion for the dry season farming alone in the state. According to him, the state government will construct 1000 tube wells to assist dry season farmers as a result of a shortage of water being experienced at the Goronyo Dam.

Tourism: Being an ancient city, the state will attract tourists Mining: Coal and other mineral resources abound in the state. especially during ‘calm’ weather season.
Tourism: Being an ancient city, the state will attract tourists Mining: Coal and other mineral resources abound in the state. especially during ‘calm’ weather season.

The governor said the ministry of agriculture has procured faro-brand rice seedlings at the cost of N281 million to be distributed to dry season farmers free of charge, while another N9.5 million worth of seedlings for carrot, onion, watermelon and garlic have been bought for the farmers to assist in improving their yields.

Irrigation Services: Irrigation and other water-related projects are crucial for agriculture.
Irrigation Services: Irrigation and other water-related projects are crucial for agriculture.

He disclosed that this is in addition to payment of N20 million counterpart funding to the State Agricultural Development Project (SADP) for the provision of tube wells to farmers and motorcycles for the agricultural monitoring officers.

The government also paid the sum of N40 million as counterpart funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and N56 million for the World Bank funded-Fadama III project which are all aimed at boosting agriculture.