Perhaps, unimpressed by the performance of the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, the governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru, did not name a commissioner or a permanent secretary for the ministry as he announced his new cabinet on Monday.
The new cabinet is made of 11 commissioners and 15 special advisers.
The omission comes as a surprise because Jigawa is largely a farming state with more than 80 per cent of its inhabitants engaged in agriculture.
The governor who did not give information on the fate of the agriculture ministry in his second term, said he was disappointed with the ministry’s performance during his first term adding that much needed to be done to make the state competitive in the sector.
“For agriculture, in the last four years we’re still far below the standard we have to push to improve agriculture significantly and make our agricultural produces Competitive worldwide, Mr Badaru had said then.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that in the last four years the government paid lip service to agriculture as the sector was severely underfunded.
A government official who requested anonymity told this newspaper that during the government’s first term, the agriculture ministry was made redundant as all activities, including the award of contracts and the purchase of mechanized machinery were done by the Jigawa State Agricultural Supply Company (JASCO).
No change in sight
The government’s Change Agenda promises to develop agriculture by strengthening research and extension services. It also promises to irrigate more land and deepen mechanisation and promote investments and create more opportunities in the sector.
Despite Mr Badaru’s disappointment with the performance of the sector, and his promise to make the sector better, there is no sign that he intends to change things for the better soon.
Only 5.4 per cent of the state’s 2019 budget was allocated to agriculture.
The N8.67 billion budgeted for agriculture this year is a continuation of the underfunding of the sector.
In 2016, N8.6 billion was budgeted for agriculture but only N1.5 billion was released. In 2017, N6.3 billion was budgeted but only N4.4 billion was spent and, in 2018, N10.1 billion was budgeted but only N3.06 billion was released.
The need for more is particularly dire as widespread flooding last year across the state devastated farmlands and destroyed crop.
No impressed with education
Just like for agriculture, Mr Badaru also said during the inauguration of the new cabinet that he was not happy with the educational growth in the state.
“In the education sector as well as job creation are the development of a self-sustaining economy of the state, for years there’s consistence neglect in the educational sector, in this next-level we would focus really hard to see we change that narrative,” he said.
Perhaps, due to the need to see improvement in education, the governor replaced the former commissioner, Rabi Ishaq with Lawan Danzomo.
The governor retained the commissioner for health Abba Zakari and the commissioner for water resources Ibrahim Hannun-Giwa. He said both were the two most impressive commissioner during his first term.
Other commissioners retained in the new cabinet are the commissioner for works and transport, Aminu Usman, this is despite public criticism that many of the roads in the state were substandard.