FG targets N6bn from silos concessioning
THE Federal government hopes to net N6 billion in 10 years from its planned concessioning of 20-grain silos out of the 33 belonging to it.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) seeking and obtaining its approval for the concessioning.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting on Wednesday, he said the federal government will retain six of the silos in its efforts to guarantee food security.
He said: “Federal government currently have 33 of such silos, each with a capacity of 1,360,000 metric tonnes. We are concessioning 20 for now and we hope to retain six.”
According to him, that the silos would be concessioned to some identified private sector operators with capacity to grow Agric produce for exports.
He explained: “Today we presented a memo to the council seeking to concession the silos which have been built in different parts of the country. A total of 33 silos exit with a capacity of 1,360,000 metric tons of grains and there are spread almost evenly through the geopolitical zones of the country.”
While noting that the process for the concessioning started in 2014, he said it was delayed because government wanted accountability.
He added: “The process was carried out by the World Bank, the Concession Committee of Government, NGOs, private sector and the Ministry of Agriculture.
“It has taken this long to arrive at this because the processes are very slow, we wanted absolute accountability.
“FEC approved the concessioning of 20 these silos most of them with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes each, after Council members were convinced about the positive benefits accruable to the country from the concessioning
“We informed them that the fact that we are concessioning some of the silos does not mean we are reneging on our responsibility to guarantee food security.
“We are keeping six of the silos which is according to international standard, we keep five per cent of all the grains we harvest every year, the rest will go to private sector groups. Those who bided and have shown capacity have been the ones allocated the silos, those who are unable to manage them will have the concession revoked.
“Government will earn N6 billion in the 10-year period of the first instance. The federal government remains the owner of the silos and at the end of 10 years it can neither renew, revoke or take over the silos and operate them ourselves.”
He also pointed out that the private sector operators with capacity to manage the silos in their possession would drive the production of grains where these grains grow more suitably.
His words: “We have requests for grains from different parts of the world, soya beans, sesame, sorghum and millet. We also have massive rice production going on and the likes of Dangote and Coscharis going into rice production now need these silos.
“So, concessioning it to them means they will organize local groups to produce grains for them to dry properly and store and market when the need arises or even export.
“We have confidence that these private sector operators have the capacity to operate and maintain these silos successfully”
In his remark at the briefing, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, confirmed that about 101 lives have been lost due to the flood disasters occurring in parts of the country.
He said that federal government has put in place measures to contain the expected more flooding following early warnings
He said from government’s monitoring post, it has been observed that the water level has risen to 11.19 centimetres, but has not reached the 12.4 centimetres level that led to flooding in 2012.
“The water level has not reached the point as it was in 2012. And we are happy that the water level in Cameroon has not reached the level that will make them open their dam,” he affirmed.
He appealed communities in flood-prone areas to evacuate to avert more disasters.
“We still want to appeal for them to be weary so that we can avoid the 2012 situation,” the minister pleaded.