Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government is set to borrow $1.2bn from the Dutch Bank and the Development Bank of Brazil to provide for mechanised agriculture in Nigeria.
Senior Special Adviser to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the initiative was under the Green Imperative Project of government.
He said, “The Green Imperative will address issues of mechanisation and provide agro-processing. These two will work together through service centres that will be created in each Local Government Area in Nigeria.
“This project is a private sector driven one. So all the service centres will be operated by private entrepreneurs and they will have the responsibility of servicing the loan.”
Kwasari added, “The Green Imperative is a borrowing programme that will inject foreign direct investment of €995m, that is $1.2bn.
“This has been structured financially to allow the government use bilateral negotiation and arrive at a financing that is below three per cent per annum interest rate and a gestation period of about 15 years to be paid.”
He said the loan had been insured in the insurance market and that financing was coming from the Dutch Bank and Development Bank of Brazil, while the fund was insured by the Islamic Development Bank.
Kwasari said the loan was structured with a monitoring policy with the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow the lending of the facility to entrepreneurs in naira.
This came as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Wednesday tasked investors in the private sector to drive the production of cassava value chain to meet with local consumption and export demands.
Nanono said his ministry would create appropriate policies for the successful production and distribution of cassava products to ensure that food and raw materials were available for industries.
The minister said these in his office while hosting the project team of the Economically Sustainable and Integrated Cassava Seed System Phase II.
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