Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, last Saturday featured on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria,FRCN, Harvest FM program, Democracy and the People. He was accompanied by his Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Titus Zam. The Governor gave an account of his six-months stewardship, particularly his amnesty program, and clarified some issues during the interactive session. He also requested the Adviser to respond to a question on the disbursement of the bailout at the local government level.
Below is a transcription from the program.
You have clocked six months in office, what can you say you’ve been able to do in terms of touching the lives of the people?
I give glory to the Almighty God for where we are today. When I came in as Governor of Benue State, I knew that we had a lot of challenges. The first thing I noticed was that the whole state was under siege and it was very disturbing. The state was insecure, people were being killed indiscriminately, people were being robbed, people were being kidnapped and I saw it as a very disturbing development. I decided, right from the day of my swearing-in, from 29th of May, that the first thing that I had to do was to secure the state. I thought it wise, after due consultation with the Federal Government, I granted amnesty to all those youths who were having arms illegally. As a politician I knew what transpired during elections, our youths were armed to prosecute the election. Fortunately because of the overwhelming support which I had from the Benue people, they were not able to execute their plans through violence, moreso that I refused to be part of any violent acts against the people of the state. The amnesty program yielded positive results. We succeeded in receiving over 400 different types of sophisticated weapons from these youths, more than 700 than of these youths came together and surrendered to the amnesty. We just held a retreat for them and we are going to encourage them to go back to school while some will go back to vocation training schemes to acquire skills. Some will be incorporated into government security strategy as part of intelligence gathering so that we can secure the state further. We are excited that this has yielded positive result. They gave me their word that they will not go back to their old ways. That was one major achievement. The intentions of government to ensure that the state is industrialized, to ensure the introduction of schemes that will promote micro, small, and medium enterprises, in ensuring that we attract investment into the state and to ensure that we encourage trading and commercial activities in the state cannot be realized without adequate security. Having confronted the challenge headlong, today we have been making contacts all over the world and several investors are flowing into the state with the intention of investing.
The other challenge was that I met a deficit treasury and it was worrisome because of debts. Well, government is a continuous process so we had to take up from there. After due consultations with stakeholders and the House of Assembly, we chose to borrow N10 billion to pay salaries and take on very critical responsibilities that needed urgent government attention, that we did. We were able to dialogue with unions at the Benue State University, BSU, that was on strike and they accepted our commitment to them and they resumed and today our students are back to school and several of them have graduated.
The other problem we had which affected the entire state was the medical students from BSU that since the inception of the College of Health Science which started about 12 years ago could not graduate due to non- accreditation of the school. This was one issue that we gave attention and brought in the management who put all the challenges together and we took it up and paid all the requirements that were needed to get the accreditation. We invited the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to come to Benue and the accreditation was done. Today, Benue State University has successfully graduated the first set of medical doctors in Benue, 27 of them. They are already doing their housemanship in BSU Teaching Hospital. There too, we needed to upgrade some facilities which we did and our students are doing their housemanship there in the Teaching Hospital.
We had issues of pension arrears, salary arrears and all that. What we decided to, out of the N10 billion, we started paying arrears form May because we resumed on May 29 and so when we secured this N10 billion we started paying the arrears. Since then, for pensions we have not reneged, we have been paying pensions because most of the pensioners live on drugs. Pension at the state level alone is N394 million. At the local government level, it is N117 million every month. We have been paying because these are our mothers and fathers, we are not toying with them.
The other issue was the school of Nursing and Midwifery in Makurdi. That is one institution whose graduates are working all over the world in Europe, America, Asia,etc. It is the only school that on graduation, appointment letters are waiting for you. We discovered that for the past three years, no administration was done because the accreditation had been withdrawn. When we came in we said we cannot allow this to continue in Benue State and so we swung into action and today if you go there, there is massive construction and renovation going on and we have set aside funds to ensure that we provide the equipment that are needed and as soon as the renovation is finished, we are going to invite the Council to come and re-accreditate the school and then our children will take off again.
You are aware that we were one of the first state governments that constituted the state executive council very early. Infact, we were one of the earliest because I believe in the rule of law and due process and so I didn’t want things to be hanging because I as Governor I have an approval limit. I wanted, as provided by law, to do things right from the beginning so I was one Governor that was able to constitute the executive council within a record time. Today we are happy we have an exco in place and its going on with its activities. Because of the loan we got, despite the dwindling allocation from the federation account, we have been able to commence the payment of full salaries right from May up to October when we started having challenges. But we believe in transparency so I have called all the labour unions together and explained that this is what we have and we together agreed on how to manage the situation. For pensioners, we placed them on first line charge because most of them are living on drugs and we must not allow our mothers and fathers to die and that has been going on. Though here too we have a challenge with pension arrears with some of them that retired recently and are yet to be documented. I have directed that the documentation should be done so that we find a way around it.
The other thing that we did was to discuss with the President and he saw the need was that salary arrears were owed for several months and he decided that we find a way around it. We were given a loan, a kind of bailout to support the staff, that is ongoing. We have been able to pay at the state level what we were owing. At the local government level, it is ongoing. But there are issues at the local government level. A lot of fraudulent activities were perpetrated by certain political leaders and civil servants. The payment is being coordinated because we have introduced a new system of payment, it’s e-payment. This will eliminate the issue of ghost workers and stop some of the indiscriminate recruitments that were making the salary wage bill to be very high. At the local government level today, teachers and other staff have a salary bill of N3.5 billion. At the state level when you put pensions, when you put overheads, when you put together salaries, salary is about N3 billion today, pension N394 million with overhead put together is over N4 billion. Last month which is October, the total money that we got at the local government level was N2 billion with a deficit of over N1.5 billion. At the state level, total monies that we got was also N2 billion and so we had a deficit of N2 billion.
But these are issues that we are discussing, we are transparent, nothing is hidden about us. I have said that the issue of bailout at the local government level is still having some outstanding and so it requires some clarification. We have set up a committee headed by the Deputy Governor and they are receiving complaints and dealing with them as they come. One thing is that I have seen several insinuations and blackmail from the opposition who are still dreaming that we are not transparent and that money have been moved here and there. No single kobo has been diverted. We promised the people that we have zero tolerance for corruption and as far as we are concerned all the resources meant for bailout are available and people can cross-check their facts. I have said that if you see that I am doing anything to short-change the state or any person working under me, blow the wistle. It is not their right to accuse people that they have diverted N3 billion, that they have diverted so many millions and so on. Bring those facts, we are ready to deal with anybody under this government including myself. If you have facts and figures, bring them out so that we can appreciate what you are saying.
The issue of fighting corruption should not be limited to government circles alone. It should be total, the whole society should be involved. When you notice anything, it is your duty to bring it out, but bring facts and figures. If not people can go to court against you for telling lies. So we are very transparent and accountable. We still believe that anyone who is sincere to adding value to the development of the state should be frank and should work hard to support this government.
We have also resuscitated the Benue State Council of Chiefs. For several years they never met but we have started it because we believe that traditional rulers should not politicize their office because traditional rulers are fathers of the land. Even when you have more than one hundred political parties they are your own parties within your domain. You should work with all of them. If they are contesting elections, give blessings to them all. If any of them wins, it is your own son or daughter that has won election. So do not go and get yourself involved in politics. But there are traditional issues, security matters, traditional matters and support for any government of the day. These we have been able to communicate because we met with the Tiv Traditional Council, we met with the Idoma Traditional Council and they all resolved and today we have reconstituted the Benue State Council of Chiefs and it is going on.
We have also constituted the Benue State Internal Revenue Service board because this is one area that we need to look inwards. Today the oil prices have fallen, before we came in oil was sold for about $140, today it’s sold for $38, so it means we must look inwards and looking inwards is internally generated revenue. I have constituted the board. Very soon we will come out with revenue blueprint that will help them.
I have also constituted the Council on the prerogative of mercy and for the first time after so many years we have been able to grant amnesty through this council to over a 100 convicts that were in various prisons. They have given us their words that they will continue to be law abiding. We have appointed the Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal and two judges for the court and I have already sworn them in. We are also renovating the Ministry of Justice headquarters which have been taken over by termites, today work is going on. We have also resumed the payment of robe allowances to lawyers that was suspended for several years.
We have also secured a new transmitter for Radio Benue and supported the African Independent Television, AIT, to establish their radio and relevision stations at the North-Bank.
We also resumed work on Daudu-Gbajimba road which was abandoned and have paid the contractor up to date and we believe that this time around work will be completed on the road.
Again, one noticeable achievement is that when we came in we discovered that the water works at Otobi and Katsina-Ala water was not flowing and the contractor was claiming N1.9 billion. After negotiation, we discovered that the claim could not be justified and we negotiated and it came down to N1.6 billion. We have already paid N600 million. Today as I speak with you, there is water in Kastin-Ala through the old pipes. With the old reticulation, some of it have been rectified and water is flowing in these two towns.
Again we have been able to re-engage the development partners. For us, we feel that they are experienced and they have the technical capability which is capable of supporting us to develop the state. Most times they are able to bring in counterpart funding and what is needed is just for us to add. But we have been having challenges. The House of Assembly at our request approved N5.5 billion for us to access so that we can pay counterpart funding to various agencies in order to secure more funds for development projects. For primary school alone, we had N3.2 billion and when we match it we will be having N6.4 billion that will be used for the development and provision of equipment for our primary schools. These are very interesting but despite the challenges, we have been able to record these achievements.
For us, we see the entire Benue as our constituency and we believe that politicking is gone, we now need to come together and work as a team, that is was why I invited the stakeholders in Benue State, for the first time, and presented our ideas on how we intend to run government in a document that was prepared by technocrats, politicians, by industrialists and by major stakeholders. I felt that since I am Governor today, there is need to collate ideas from the entire Benue State. I have given them my blueprint, Our Collective Vision for a new Benue. It should be all embracing and so I’m looking forward that those who have inputs better than what we have on the table should bring it so that we can add to it.
In summary, these are some of my achievements with several other things that we have been doing. My government has zero tolerance for corruption. We are fighting hard and one other thing that I must mention is the setting up of the two panels. One, a judicial panel to verify the income and expenditure from 2007 to 2015. This is a fact finding panel, it is meant to give us a picture of what transpired. As at today, we are still verifying certain debts that the state is owing.
When we came in initially we were given figures by the Ministry of Finance that we had a debt burden including salary arrears, pensions and gratuities and contractual obligations and so on to the tune of N90 billion. We set up a transition committee that was supposed to collaborate with the past government but the government later withdrew and so when we came in we told them to go ahead and verify some of these facts. They came up with a figure of over a N130 billion of commitments. Then arrears of gratuities and pensions put together amounted to N169 billion. Up to today, we are still verifying because people are still bringing up some government commitments and so on. This panel is meant to bring out facts because as Christians, we do not intend to witchhunt or blacklist anyone. So the panel is meant for people to go there and exonerate themselves but when you have issues you have to go there and respond to them and if possible apologise to the people of the state and make restitution. We are willing to forgive like we granted amnesty. Where you took government money wrongly, you must bring it back, there is no doubt about that. For people who say we have skeletons in our cupboard, don’t just say that, bring facts and figures. We are ready to face the people of Benue State who gave us their mandate popularly. We did not get it through the barrel of the gun or through intimidation and we are not intimidating anyone. Issues that concern me as a person I’ve forgiven all who worked against me; those who wanted to stop me, those who did all sorts of things against me I’ve forgiven them. But when it comes to the commonwealth of the people, I’m not willing to compromise.
I want our people to know this because at the end of the day, once I get facts from these panels because it’s giving opportunity to those mentioned to come and clarify issues. Once I get this report, it is then that I can go to EFCC, ICPC or I can initiate independent prosecution against those who have taken government money.
The second panel is about verification of government assets. There are several government assets in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and even in Benue Sate and there are no records. We felt that government should have records of its own assets and that is why we constituted that panel and they are working. The former governor took us to court to stop these from operation but the court said we were right by setting up those panels and so their work is going on and I’m satisfied with what they’re doing. As soon as the reports are ready, I’ll show Benue people that this is where we are. We can decide on what to do next.
I want to appreciate God for these six months, I know that the challenges are there. Some people expect me to do so much within this short time, I appreciate their expectations and I want to assure them that my covenant with God and the people of Benue State still stands. One thing is this, that I’ll lead with the fear of God and this will translate to truthfulness, equity, fairness, justice, transparency, accountability, discipline, integrity and forgiveness. But forgiveness will come with restitution. And it’s biblical, I believe that when we are united as a state, development will be inevitable. And so I wish to appreciate the people of Benue State for the support they’ve given me. I’ll continue to do my best and by the time I round up my four years, Benue will be happy that ignorance, poverty and disease is eradicated over this land. I believe that the same way it was almost impossible for me to be Governor but today by the grace of God, I am here, I believe that despite the challenges that we have not just in Benue State but in the whole country, there is a recession by the drop of oil prices and no more funds to prosecute the payment of salaries and critical government obligations that we have, but I believe that God will help us.
In no distant time, we should be able to develop ourselves. One thing I’m encouraging our people to do is that we can begin to be thinking of what to do to help ourselves. Right from when I was campaigning I did say that government does not have the capacity at the local, state and federal levels to provide all that we need in terms of jobs, in terms of wealth, and in terms of opportunities. We must look outside the box and looking outside the box is to identify those areas where we have competitive and comparative advantages. For instance, for us in Benue State, we have comparative advantage in agriculture. We have comparative advantages in solid minerals and we have comparative advantages in tourism. These are areas where we can provide massive jobs with government providing the enabling environment. That is what my blueprint seeks to do. I think that when we work together, we will be able to achieve these and Benue people will be happy for it.
Are you saying the Benue State government has no hand in the recent arraignment of the former Governor by the EFCC ?
We have no hand in it. It’s very clear, he is being prosecuted for the N3.1 or N3.2 billion that was paid into a private account of a private Bureau De Change businessman who converted it to $15 million and gave him. We have not taken on any person, whatsoever, in the past government until we have the report of the judicial panel that we have set to verify these facts, because we do not want to witchhunt anyone or blackmail anyone for whatsoever reason, so we want facts. That is why I’m insisting that those whose names have been mentioned should try and clarify this matter at the judicial panel because whatsoever they give us at the end of the day, those facts will be there and if we ask you to make refunds and you do not, we can now prosecute you.
There are rumours that the bailout funds have pension money inside, can you clarify that?
This was a clear way of the opposition trying to distract government because the records are there. In the presentation that we gave to the Federal Government, initially it was the entire debt profile outside contractual agreements and projects. We presented a total request of N69 billion which comprised pensions, gratuities and also salary arrears for both state and local governments but the Federal government now said they had some limitations, so they granted N12.5 billion for the state to pay salary arrears and they granted N15.5 billion for local governments. When I say local government I’m talking of the teachers and other local government staff. That is what we have. There were no pension arrears that was on this but initially the detractors of this government went to say that we have collected the pension money. The pensioners also came and I took time to explain to them and they were satisfied. They prayed that God should bless me but that I should take their message to the President which I did and the President promised that he will look at it because he is a pensioner like them. He said he will look at their plight, he appreciated them and this is what we are working on and I’m sure if there is a way we will work that out.
Do you think you can recover missing funds from the 2007- 2015 probe to invest in the state and also open a dedicated line for your supporters and critics to reach you with comments?
My situation room will soon be ready so people can have access to the situation room and be able to communicate with us. Information is key and I appreciate you and I promise you that you will not be disappointed at all. I agree with you totally on the need to bridge the information gap, that is what made me to appear on this programme. This is because I was popularly elected and I’m doing my best and my covenant is with God and with the people of Benue State. Even where I think that I’m clever, I cannot be clever before God. You have heard what I’ve said are some our achievements inspite of the challenges that we have. You can imagine what we’ve been able to do. A lot of insinuations and lies are being peddled. The former government officials have seen what we’ve been doing. For instance, what justification do they have to close the School of Nursing and Midwifery for more than three years? All that was needed for the accreditation was less than N300 million and one transaction where monies were stolen is in billions. These are things they do not want people to know. That was why the former Governor went to stop the probe panels but I thank the judiciary for standing by the truth and ensuring that justice must prevail. We have no intention to blacklist or blackmail anyone but let the truth be told in Benue State.
Can you tell the people of Benue State all about the bailout, particularly for the teachers and the local government staff? We wish to also appreciate your amnesty to the people who were causing havoc to Benue people.
I’m here in the studio with the Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs because I know that this is where some of these issues are coming. But one thing I want to assure the people of Benue State is that every money that is meant for bailout is intact. For the first time in the history of Benue State, because I knew that the opposition will come up with all kinds of insinuations, we’ve made our operations transparent. These monies were meant just for salary arrears. Like I said, we presented a budget of N69 billion and the Federal Government approved N28 billion for Benue State. Mind you this N28 billion we’re talking about is salary arrears that was perpetuated by the past government. You can imagine our government having N28 billion to inject into our new government, we would have been very far. But to show you that I’m committed to the welfare of my staff as local government chairman when others refused to pay I came out and paid teachers their salaries, I implemented the minimum wage. Up till today, I place issues of workers welfare as priority. In Benue State there are no industries so the industry we have is you the civil servants. When you have problems it becomes a challenge to the man in the village. So I’m not playing with this. The bailout funds are available and for what it was meant for it is being paid. There was nothing like monetization that was included in what was granted to us and the records are there. That is why to show our transparency we brought in the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to be part of the distribution of the bailout. They are part of the committee that is headed by no other person than my deputy governor. Where there are complaints we encourage people to bring them up. We will handle them. But all the monies are there, the ones that have been paid and the balances are there. But for the local government, it is complicated. You will appreciate the fact that in Benue State the local government system is complicated and that is why I set up a committee to examine their operation so that we can come out with something that can help us. Today, no local government can construct one culvert. You go to one local government and you see no staff but on salary days they are there. Some of these people were brought in illegally. These are gaps that we have but we have a committee that is permanently working, including on weekends, with the new system of payment which is the e-payment operators there. So where there are complaints, they are brought to them and they are rectified. I want to assure you that the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, is involved, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, are involved in this process and there is no way anyone will divert one naira for any other use. I’ve said it that I’ve zero tolerance for corruption and I’ve no intention to short change the people of Benue State by diverting monies that are not my own.
The judicial panel that we have put in place today is doing its work and we believe that tomorrow I will not be Governor and there is no way I will want to be victim of the standard I want to set. I’m doing this to help the state, so if there are issues, people who have complaints at the state and local government should bring it up and we are ready to take them up and handle them. On the amnesty we appreciate you, appreciate the people of Benue state, the traditional rulers, the clergy who stood by me and supported me to achieve this feat. But I want the Adviser on Local Government to say something briefly to the people of Benue State on this bailout at the local government level where even me has been worried. So from time to time I visit the ICT center to ensure that we have the right thing being done.
Mr Zam : As you rightly pointed out, the local Government system is a dark corner especially in the last few years. Now that you have given me the charge to sanitize the place, it’s a difficult task but I want to assure my boss and the people of Benue State that we are on top of the situation. To address the issue of the agitation for the bailout to be specific, you know that we have two sectors in the local government service. It is the other staff and the primary school teachers. For the primary school sector the situation is clear, we do not have a lot of sharp practices in their pay roll system. But in the local government sector, given that it is one sector that is very close to the people at the grassroots, and the leadership there keeps changing, everybody that comes on board wants to bring their own into the system, so the employment into the local government system has been chaotic and charaterised by all manner of intrigues. Everybody wants to bring in his clan, his in-laws and this and that. So we have a work force in the local government service that is unimaginable, that you cannot even define. The statistics keep changing, number of employees keeps expanding and these affects the wage bill. It has been a very difficult task in trying to define the exact size of the service because people sit in their bedrooms and give letters of appointment to others and they appear as local government workers. When we inherited the system from the previous administration, we were told that they were 30,000 workers. We carried out the first survey and it came to about 27, 000 but we are still going through the system. With the introduction of the e-payment system as introduced by the new administration, we discovered a lot of monies that were going through the drain through deliberate sharp practices organized by the last order. It’s a bit difficult but we’re doing it. You should also appreciate the fact that these people are in the town engineering all manner of protests and giving deliberate falsehood to the Benue people in order to distract us and give us a bad name. In the e-payment system that we have introduced, we’ve seen all manner of things. For the monies, the governor released N15.5 billion to the Bureau on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. I want to tell the people of Benue State that for the primary school sector, we have paid four months, that is January, February, March and April of 2015. For the local government, we’ve paid February, March and April. January is yet to be paid, the reason being that in the local government system every month has its peculiarities, but worst of all, for January of 2015, the last administration didn’t pay the correct salary to the local government workers. In some local governments, they paid half, in others they paid quarter depending on what they wanted to do. So the figures are not straight even in those local governments that certain figures were paid, some departments were not paid at all so the figure is not uniform across the board.We are harnessing these figures from local governments across the length and breadth of the state and when we get the correct figure we will be able to clear that of January. I appreciate the fact that even for the months that we have cleared, there are still issues. Some people either because they were not present when the verification team went to their local government area, or because their employments were irregular they do not stand to benefit from this bailout until we are able to establish the exact situation as it affects them. Some of the noise that you hear is engineered by some of the elements that do not stand to benefit from this bailout by virtue of their own faulty employment status and so they have gone out to peddle all manner of stories against the system and against the government that means well for them. It is very important to also mention the fact that the same people who did not pay workers their salary for upward of five to six months are the ones that are going round telling lies that certain amount of the money has been misappropriated. I want to use this medium to advise all and sundry to be vigilant. Some of the protests, some of these tyres being burnt are not being burnt by the local government staff. The governor has directed me to continue to interact with the leadership of NULGE and the NUT and they have been very cooperative, they have been in my office and at the ICT Center together with them monitoring the disbursement of funds. And so I want to appeal for understanding. The remaining money is there. His Excellency has not touched any kobo neither has he asked me to allocate any money to anybody. The money has not finished. So if you are not paid yet and you have a good case you will be paid.
What programs do you have for the various segments that voted you into the office?
One thing that I know is that I was overwhelmingly voted into office and the people love me, they trusted me because they believe in what I can do. I want to say that I know it is a commitment and a contract between me and the people. They will not be disappointed, I was voted for a period of four years and by the grace of God we have just done six months. I’ve enumerated our achievements despite the challenges that we have. Within the four years the impact will be felt. But one good thing about my administration is that we are open, willing to accept advice and creative ideas that can further add value to our development. That is why we are about completing a situation room that every stakeholder in Benue will have access to. I want to assure you that it is going to be well. Like I said before, the civil service, in the absence of industries, is the main industry in the state. When you pay a civil servant, it goes down the line, the mother, father, the sister, the aunty also benefit. One good thing is that I’m a grassroots man and I know the challenges that we have here. But we have a program to industrialise the state in the areas that we have comparative advantages like agriculture and solid minerals. This will also bring huge benefits to our people. But the fact is that is when you pay a civil servant the farmer in the village too benefits. He is able to buy from the produce that comes from the farm. This is one area that must be given priority attention. But there are other ways. Today what I’ve decided to do, just as it is being practiced all round the world, is to ensure that government disengages from commercial enterprises and encourages the private sector. The private sector drives the economy, the government provides the enabling environment and policy framework and also monitors it to ensure that it gets to the people. By the time we establish one industry here producing the man in the village who is a farmer will also bring his produce. Because as a farmer myself I appreciate the fact that the main problem we have today in Benue State is lack of patronage. People are not buying the rice we produce, they are not buying the soya beans or even where they come to buy they buy below the cost price. This is a very big challenge and I’m going to tackle it. The same thing in solid minerals. So by the time we are able to sort out this, the farmer is going to benefit, the technocrat will benefit, the artisans who voted me will also benefit. Once there is wealth, there are job creations and opportunities it will go down to everyone of them. But the civil service is key in Benue State. But by the time we diversify the economy, attention will be withdrawn completely from the civil service and it will go to people who are out there.
Zam : It is important that I make this clarification. Local government teachers were not used to taking their salaries through the banks as well as other local government workers. Now the government has directed me to effect the e-payment system which is bank driven, so there are bound to be issues. Some local government workers, I think Ohimini, came to me, about 200 of them, and said they were banking with a Micro Finance bank in their local government. The micro finance back is alien to the Central Bank system. So such people may have issues. I directed that they should move to the conventional banks and open their accounts so that they can easily access their money, this is being done. Some of the complaints have arisen because some of the workers have issues with their bank accounts. I plead that they should go quickly and rectify their bank accounts.
What should the people expect in the next year’s budget?
I look forward that we shall create jobs, create opportunities and also create wealth through industrialization, through micro, small and medium scale enterprises, through commercial and trading activities and through investment activities.