2018 will be an interesting year for many of us and a good year for many Nigerians in shaa Allah.
We want to turn the whole country into a construction site; Roads, bridges, railways and rail stations, housing etc. There will be human capital developments. Our Social Investment programmes will go into overdrive. 500,000 Npower, we will ramp up the numbers of school pupils to be fed to over 10mil|ion, we will disburse interest free loans to additional 500,000 beneficiaries, we will scale up our cash transfers to about 700,000 people. All these will have tremendous ripple effects on the economy both rural and urban. The cooks we pay directly to feed the kids in public schools will buy the food stuffs from local farmers who in turn are guaranteed a market for their products.
Say we feed the 1 million pupils of Kano State primary 1-3 an egg a week. That's 1 miilion eggs every week. It will take a poultry that has at least 200 layers that produce an average of 3 eggs a day to produce 600 eggs a day and to make it 4,200 eggs a week. With that, you need to have at least 250 poultry farms of that capacity in Kano alone producing the eggs non stop to get a million eggs a week. If you include the food for the chickens as well which is about 4 ounces of feed on an average per layer, then you can imagine the ripple market effect of that for the farmer who sells the feed. you are talking of tons of maize to be purchased from the local farmer. That is the story of what the school feeding alone can do. Not to talk of the rest of the programmes.
We still have a long way to go I know. And some may say, why now? Well then why not? It is always better late than never. Let's be optimistic this year for I know there will be a lot of good things in the offing.
Happy New Year.
Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed as the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investment Programmes, SIP.