Civil servants in Niger State have been implored to embrace programmes that will earn them more income than their salaries, which will encourage them at their time of retirement.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello stated this when flagging off Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) wet season farming for state civil servants in Minna.
The governor explained that the commencement of the initiative is a fulfilment of his dream for the state civil servants, adding that he desires to see civil servants becoming employers of labour.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, while urging the civil servants to key into the scheme, acknowledged that the programme has immense benefits as it will create job opportunities, increase the income of civil servants and boost the internally generated revenue of the state.
“I dream of a Niger State where most of our civil servants will move from employees to employers. If you engage in programmes like this and from my calculations, I want to believe you will earn more than your salary when you embrace the programme,” he said.
The governor disclosed that over 4000 civil servants are targeted for the first phase of the programme, adding that he will engage the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) so as to increase the number in the next farming season, pointing out that the state has the capacity to cultivate enough rice to feed the nation.
Governor Sani Bello, while promising to support all programmes geared towards enhancing the welfare of civil servants, directed the state Head of Service (HoS), Hajiya Salamatu Abubakar, to initiate more of such programmes and projects that will attract the civil servants and afford them the opportunity of generating more income for themselves that could lead to early retirement.
The state Head of Service, Hajiya Salamatu Abubakar said the initiative is a social intervention to boost food security in the country, and also add income to the civil servants.
She said that 2,000 and 4,000 civil servants both at the state and local government level, have expressed interest in the programme with about 300 being captured already for the take-off of the scheme.
The HoS thanked the governor for approving the programme, pointing out that farming is one legitimate activity a civil servant can do while still working. And assured him of proper monitoring of the programme.
Delivering his keynote address, coordinator, Niger State RIFAN, Alh Idris Usman Makaranta said that 42,000 farmers will cultivate 66,000 hectares of land and the state has 100,000 rice millers.
Alh Makaranta added that CBN mapped out one million hectares for rice, maize and sesame cultivation in the state and that 50,000 hectares have been earmarked for civil servants, 50,000 hectares for academicians and 5,000 hectares for the youths.
He said that the civil servants who are rice farmers will be provided with farm inputs such as six bags of blended fertilisers, sprayers, chemicals, 30kg of rice seedlings and a pumping machine.
The coordinator said that at the end of the farming season, the farmers are expected to harvest 60 bags and are also to repay the loan with 8-10 bags.
He added that CBN will make funds available to mop up excess rice after the harvest from the farmers.
The event organised by the RIFAN is in collaboration with the ofice of the Head of Service under the Central Bank Anchor Borrowers Scheme.