6th November, 2014
The Federal Government on Wednesday approved the use of the $495 million (about N77 billion) credit it secured from the International Development Association (IDA) to boost irrigation nationwide.
The Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Bashir Yuguda, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
According to him, the facility is to augment what the Federal Government is doing to improve irrigation throughout the year.
“The first memo is on the approval of an International Development Association’s credit of $495 million for the proposed irrigation management.
“The idea about this facility is to upscale what the Federal Government is doing in improving the irrigation system so that we will have year-in-year-out farming season in the country.
“Part of the fund under this IDA credit is to upscale the cultivation of the irrigable land in the country.
“Currently, we have an estimated 2.2million hectares of potentially irrigable land in the country out of which about one million hectares are situated in the Northern parts,” he said.
Yuguda said the facility, to be managed by the Ministry of Water Resources, had four components.
He said that out of the sum, $81 million would be spent on Water Resource Management and Dam Operation Improvement just as $294 million would be used for Irrigation Development and Management.
He said that while $38 million would be used to enhance agricultural productivity and support the value chain development, $30 million would be spent on governance and institutional framework.
According to him, $52 million will be set aside as contingency funds.
Commenting on the IDA credit, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, said the loan would be used to upscale the cultivation of the irrigable land in the country.
Ochekpe added that part of the loan would be used to rehabilitate the Bakolori Dam and the Irrigation Scheme in Zamfara.
“We are talking about the rehabilitation of the dam, which has an existing 8,000 hectares irrigation scheme, recovering the over 1,557 hectares lost due to poor drainage and converting 13,000 hectares of abandoned areas.
“The facility is on five years grace period, repayment period of 20 years and a service charge of 0.75 per cent and interest rate of 1.25 per cent per annum and commitment fee of 0.5 per cent per annum,”
Also addressing the correspondents, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Stephen Oru, said the council approved N22.2 billion for the construction of four roads in the Niger Delta region.
He identified the roads as the Mbaise Ring Road intersecting and Owerri-Umuahia Road in Imo State (N6.17 billion) and the Calabar-Oban-Nsan-Okoroba-Ajassor Road in Cross River (N9.067 billion).
Others are the Phase 1 of Mbak Mkpeti-Itu-Okoita-Arochukwu Road in Abia, Cross River and Akwa Ibom (N3.55 billion) with a completion period of 24 months and the Mbak Atai-Ikot-Ntu-Mkpeti-Okuiboku Road in Akwa Ibom to be constructed at N3.2 billion, with a completion period of 18 months.