Katsina Govt rolls out new development policy

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In his quest to fast track socio-economic development in Katsina State, Governor Dikko Umar Radda PhD, has revealed plans to roll out a new development policy which will be community-based. The governor revealed this in an interview with Mayen Etim recently, saying development programmes would now be initiated by the communities based on their interests and needs. 
According to Governor Radda, the policy would be a departure from the routine where government officials will sit down in their offices and design development programmes for communities without any inputs from the communities. Another fundamental aspect this community-based development programmes, he said is that communities would be involved in designing, implementing, maintaining and owning the projects to ensure sustainability.
Excerpts:
Your Excellency, the KT-CARES is being supported by the World Bank, where the state receives reward for good performance. What are your sustainability plans when the World Bank stops it’s funding support?
Gov Radda: This is what we planned to do without the World Bank. When I became a Governor, I planned to support the poor and vulnerable, MSMEs, agricultural development and others.  This is part of our agenda to achieve, and if you have someone who supported you to do that, appreciate that person or the organization. We appreciate the World Bank for all these things. Two things are very important in this project.
Firstly, the project has help us and also help our staff to build capacity. The capacity and capabilities of our staff has increased drastically because of some trainings undergone as a result of the implementation of this project which cannot be taken away from the state.
Secondly, it has taught us some processes that will ensure transparency, accountability and openness into the whole idea. And as I speak, in the next maybe one month, we are going to launch our Community Development Programme. It’s going to be one of its kind and indeed in the whole country. It will be so robust and will completely change the narrative in the state and make sure that all our budgetary – budgets both for the Local Government and the State, all projects and initiatives.  We will not sit down in the office and create it, rather we will make it a community-based and whatever we are sending trickling down to the bottom i.e to the communities. It will be a total ownership of that project by the community, validated by the community.
We will take the community needs assessment and then when we come to implement, we task the Community Level Committee to make sure that it is implemented as provided by the Governor. If you are chosen for in support of inputs to farmers, we will go back to the community and let them tell us the real farmers, so that we support those reall farmers.  If it’s a start-up, we’ll go there and select from the community and the community will make the selection not the government of  those young people who are serious and want to plough into the government’s programmes.
So, we will submit entirely Katsina State to the community. Whatever they want us to spend the money on…  because you may end up going to a village to build a school  two-blocks of two classrooms, but may be that community will have to trek 5 – 6 kilometers to fetch water.
So, when you build a school in that kind of situation the students or pupils may not come to school at 8 o’clock because they have to go 7 kilometers to fetch water and by the time they call at school it is already 1p.m and the school has closed. If you have look or asked for the needs of the community, they could have told you, provide water for us before building a school.
So, whatever resources you have, sink a borehole or a water source for them, then you come back to build a school when another money is available. This is community-based project, which is all about the community. This is all about the poor vulnerable people. It’s all about the citizens.
So, we’ll make it a citizen’s and community-based approach on every dimension of the development we’re putting in place in the state, and this will commence from next year, Insha Allah.
Your Excellency, Katsina State has domesticated the NG-CARES programme. How does the programme align with your administration’s vision for the socio-economic development of the state?
Gov Radda: I think the programme is apt because it came at a very good time especially as the state is facing challenges bordering insecurity, poverty, youth unemployment, among others.
If you look at our Strategic Policy,  under it, you’ll find the socio-economic development aspect spelt out that we intend to do which include the development of MSME (Medium, Small Enterprises) in which the state was able to established an agency to cater for that. Also, in our blueprint there is what we call Community Development programme which caters for the poor, vulnerable, elder among others in the society.
Similarly, we have a robust strategy towards agricultural development because it is the only way in which we can develop the state’s economy, being aggrerian state and 80 to 90 per cent of the population are into agriculture mostly subsistent farming.
So, I think the programme has really plough in very well into the initiative of this administration because the NG-CARES and the KT-CARES is focusing on the Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA’s) project where almost 200 communities has benefitted from the project in the state. The KT-CARES also concentrates on FADAMA – support for poor farmers who were given farm inputs and other forms of supports to help them produce so that we mitigate the issue of food insecurity, and high cost of foodstuff that the people are witnessing today. This has really help because about 20,000 farmers benefitted. In the first fold, about 9,000, while in the second fold over 7,000 farmers have benefitted therefrom.
We also look at the aspect of the empowerment programme which focuses attention on women and youth. The youth have benefitted from various empowerment materials. And then women…I was the one who launched the programme and handed over this thing to the women:  goats, grinding machines, extraction machines, threshers, among others were provided for the teaming groups to help them become self employed and also employers of labour, and as well improve their living conditions and standard of operations.
These are some of the things that this administration focuses on, and also it is in line with what has been developed in KT-CARES.
Sir, it is on record that you have injected a lot of funds from the state to facilitate the implementation of the KT-CARES Programme. Are you happy with the performance of the programme?
Gov Radda: Yes, I have rolled out certain achievements this programme has achieved because I have mentioned the number of people that have benefitted, and also the socio-economic impact it has on the society.
But largely, as I’ve already said what prompted me to inject money into this programme is that it is a programme where some people came onboard to help support my people. And that is the whole aim of this administration. And they are willing to support the administration in terms of funding. If one perform well in those areas and ensure one did the right thing, and do it as… and meet up the target of the beneficiaries…so I think with that…and also coupled with the fact that Katsina State has not done pretty much last time and because of that, I was so annoyed when I saw that the state could not get reward of up to a half billion when some states are getting rewards of over N30 billion. It is really mind boggling.
That was what prompted me to inject resources into this activity so that we can earn reward that we would equally plough back to the people and ensure they benefit as other states benefitted. And then, if you look at it, this year, yes, we benefitted and we can say Katsina State has moved from the bottom line because last time we were at the bottom. So now Katsina has moved to the first ten who benefited immensely because of the money we injected into the system which is over N4 billion for the benefit of our people. This has really earn us lots of rewards which will enable the state to have resources. This resources would be plough back to ensure the lives of our people changes. And I’m telling you, if you will make assessment next year, with the kind of intervention we are going to put in place as a result of rewards the state has earned, you will be surprise to see the quantum of progress we will get in reducing the level of poverty, increasing productivity, increasing job opportunities and also livelihoods to our people.
Sir, what do have in form of advice to the present and future beneficiaries of the KT-CARES Programme?
Gov Radda: You know what we have been telling people all the time…look, the support is going down and trickling down, still you find out some challenges on poor selection of beneficiaries.
That’s why I said earlier that we’ll make selection community-based, because it’s unfortunate to see that some people after they receive some empowerment equipment they sell it from the day at the point of collection. So, it is really something that we need to put a strategy in place to mitigate against which we are however, working on it.
But what I will call on everyone in the state is whatever support that is coming from the Government, take it as your own, it’s for the community, for the people and the benefit of the state. I call on all the beneficiaries to ensure they utilize whatever that is given to them for their own benefits, the benefit of the entire community and the state.  Because if you develop a business, invariably you are going to employ a person. And if you provide opportunity you have taken a burden off that community. So, we are calling on them for a full utilization.
Then we’ll put a very serious monitoring and evaluation strategy to ensure that the money, items/inputs collected are put to use as provided by the government for the purpose in which those things were given to them.

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