Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger says the state is preparing for a Nigeria without oil and is looking at alternative sources of revenue.
Bello, who spoke in New York on Tuesday, said that he was in the U.S. on investment drive towards diversifying the state economy.
“From here (New York), we’ll be leaving for Pennsylvania where we are having meetings with different organizations on how to develop the potential in Shea Butter in Niger.
“Niger State is one of the largest producers of Shea nuts; so one of our ambitions is to ensure that we get every value out of the production of the Shea Butter.
“We also pay attention to agriculture; the day of relying on oil is almost over so there is a great need to start looking at alternative sources of revenue.
“So we need to diversify and in Niger State, we have three things going for us; we have agriculture; we have almost nine million hectares of land, so land is there for agriculture.
“We have potential in tourism, which we are looking at the moment. Finally, on solid minerals, we have a lot of gold.
“So these God-given assets have been there for many years but the necessary investments have not been made to develop these potentials.”
Bello explained that his administration was focusing on laying a solid foundation to prepare the state for the future.
He said that this would better equip the next administration to continue the process and enjoy the benefits of such foundations.
“Most of these investments will require huge capital and the gestation period to start reaping the benefits of these investments would take a couple of years but at least the process has to start.
“It is my hope that once we start the process, subsequent governments will complete it and they would reap the benefits out of these efforts we are making today.
“But at some point, we know that we have to start making the necessary investments in some sectors that would improve our revenues.”
The governor said that his administration had in the last two years focused on completing projects started by previous administrations in the last 16 years.
“We felt government is a continuous process; we felt we should complete those projects that we think are of great value to the people.
“That’s what we are doing; we are completing roads, we are completing water projects,” he said.