By: Valentine Adese and Frank Agbai
Shocker, Plateau State All Progress Congress (APC) administration, led by Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, has been told that it can diversify the state economy by simply investing Two Million (N2,000,000.00) Naira in the production of school chalks.
Disclosing this economic diversification strategy in an interactive session with some media owners in his residence in Plateau State during the Sallah holidays, Hon. Musa Ibrahim Saleh said, the state simply need to invest in Kaolin.
According to Hon. Musa, who was a onetime Commissioner Special Duties on Solid Minerals Development Plateau State in 2007 and 2011, the raw material for the venture, is present in 13 out of the 17 Local Government Areas of the state in commercial quantities.
He said a proper planning of the Lalong administration and adequately exploration of Kaolin in the state would enable the state produce drugs, orthopedic raw materials and most importantly, school chalks.
According to him, this would place the state in a comparative advantage among other states in the federation which would now depend on the state for such supply with adequate arrangements.
You would recall that Hon. Saleh who was born in Kantana, a small village in Kanam LGA, had served as S in about 37 Plateau State government Ministries and Agencies. He was also the Secretary to the Niki Tobi Commission of Inquiry and also the Secretary Namu Commission of Inquiry.
Hon. Musa Ibrahim Saleh in part said:
“Having served in these capacities, and you go to the records especially in the Ministry of Mineral Development, you would see the conduct of the solid Minerals of Plateau state that we discovered.
“We discovered that Plateau state has about 57 different types of Mineral resources. Kaolin is abundant in about 13 Local government areas of Plateau state. This is in commercial quantity. From this raw material, you can make a lot of things including orthopedic tools, drugs, school chalks etc.
“I was thinking may be the All Progressive Congress administration in Plateau State, led by Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, would have taken some of the advises we have documented.
“If he wants to diversify the economy of the state, with the production of school chalk from Kaolin, the administration can do that. Some of our states don’t have kaolin. With two million, the state can start producing school chalks.
“If we partner with a states like Lagos state for an instance, for the state to be supplying chalks to the state, definitely, we will generate a lot. And this will attract other state. I believe this will generate the needed revenue to pay salaries and do other developmental projects in the state.
“During our time in the Ministry of Solid Minerals, we also conducted the mineral pond survey, you know Plateau state is devastated by a lot of mining disturbances. By the time I left office, we had already successfully done survey of ponds and we discovered that we have over 4412 mining disturbances which would have consumed our people. But government can convert them into useful ventures, gardens or irrigation farms and sources of water for people to drink.
“I feel if we are to exploit what we discovered and converted them into solid ventures in the state, Plateau state would be depended upon by other states in the country and Africa at large.