…N43.9 for meters, bridge, grains, Ile-Ife, Nkari dams
…Nigeria saves $21bn from grains importation
Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Federal Government has given approval for a loan of $1 billion from Chinese Export-Import Bank (EXIM) for the completion of Gurara II Hydropower project which has the capacity to generate 360 megawatts electricity.
Also, the council approved additional N43.975 billion for various projects.
The approval was given on Wednesday at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Minister of Water Resources, Sulieman Adamu, who briefed the State House correspondents after the meeting, said that the council also approved N5.7 billion revised total estimated cost for the completion of Nkari dam in Akwa Ibom.
The minister said: “Council also approved the appointment of a consultant for the resuscitation of the Gari Irrigation Project in Kano/Jigawa states.
Council had in 2017 approved for the resumption of the project which was earlier abandoned for 17 years. The consultant is the same appointed in 1998. The contractors are already on site.”
According to Adamu, the FEC also approved the revised estimated total cost of N10.4 billion for the completion of Ile Ife Dam in Osun State.
The project was started in 2004 and abandoned but would now be completed in 24 months.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babtunde Raji Fashola, said that his ministry presented two memoranda to the FEC and got approval for the construction of an inter-change and pedestrian bridge at Abaji in Abuja for N7.197 billion.
Fashola explained that the bridges, when constructed, would address the perennial problem of accidents in that place.
The second approval was for the procurement of 200, 217 meters by Yola Electricity Distribution Company under the Meter Asset Providers Scheme, the minister added.
He said: “As you might know, Yola Electricity Distribution Company is the DISCO that was surrendered to by the original holder.
“So it’s under the Federal Government’s management. So they are buying 200,217 meters for consumers under their franchise which covers Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and Yobe states.
“The cost of those meters is N11.208 billion. It is to be funded from the judgement sum that I previously briefed you about two years ago that council approved a compromise from an old meter’s supply dispute since 2003.
“So that money is in a bank, it has been there, so that is where these meters would be funded from and as consumers pay back the meters as they are supplied, the money goes back into that account.”
Audu Ogbe, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, also told State House correspondents that he got approval to procure 61,000 tons of grains: maize, millet and sorghum at the cost of N9.47 billion, adding that the purchase would be begin shortly.
Ogbeh explained: “We have a memo approved in council for purchase of grains to reinforce the grains reserve.
Everywhere in the world Silos are owned by government into which they purchase grains at the end of harvest. The average is usually between two and three percent of all grains grown.
“We also informed council of the problem we have with Nigeria grains especially maize, sesame and groundnut. An infestation called aflatoxin which the Minister of Health confirmed is a very big threat to the liver and the kidney of most consumers.
“Luckily, IITA has found a product which they produce in large quantities which they now send to Africa for treating the farms, the Silos and the sacks in which we put the grains to eliminate aflatoxin.
“The product which they produce is called afflasafe. We buy the grains, treat the Silos and store the grains in Silos so that if there is emergency anywhere in the country, or there is a shortage, a flood and there is no food, we can draw from what we have in the Silos and distribute to the needy areas in the country.
“We have pressure from some companies which operate in this country that we should allow them to import maize on the grounds that our maize is not of good quality and we said no you must buy local maize, because we are dealing with the challenge of afterthought.”
The minister revealed that Nigeria has in the last three years, saved $21 billion from importation of grains.
He said, “because there was still the tendency to prefer to import “what we produce and the policy of this government is ‘let’s use what we produce and save our foreign exchange’ which is why in the last three and half years we have saved $21 billion on import”.