FEC okays N360b Chinese loan for Gurara Hydropower project

•Also N11.2b for electricity meter purchase, N9.47b for grains

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved a loan of $1billion (N360billion) for the Gurara II Hydropower project.

The loan is to be sourced from the Chinese EXIM Bank.

The project has the capacity to generate 360 megawatts of electricity.

Minister of Water Resources, Sulieman Adamu, revealed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting.

He said the approval followed a memo presented to Council by his ministry.

According to him, FEC approved a total of four memos for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources

He said the council also approved N5.7 billion revised total estimated cost for the completion of Nkari dam in Akwa Ibom.

It similarly approved the appointment of consultants for the resuscitation of the Gari Irrigation Project in Kano/Jigawa States.

The minister recalled the council had in 2017 approved for the resumption of the project which was earlier abandoned for 17 years.

He explained that the consultants are the same appointed in 1998, saying, the contractors are already on site

Suleiman added that the council also approved the revised estimated total cost of N10.4 billion for the completion of Ile Ife Dam in Osun State.

According to him, the project was started in 2004 and abandoned.

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It has completion period is 24 months.

Also, briefing, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, said FEC approved N11.2 billion for the procurement of over 200,000 electricity meters by Yola Electricity Distribution Company under the Meter Asset Providers  Scheme.

He explained: “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.”

Fashola said N7.197 billion was also approved for the construction of an interchange and pedestrian bridge at Abaji in the FCT to address the perennial problem of accidents in the area.

In his own remarks, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Audu Ogbe, revealed that the council also approved N9. 47 billion for purchase of grains to reinforce the grains reserve.

He added: “Everywhere in the world Silos are owned by the government into which they purchase grains at the end of harvest. The average is usually between two and three per cent of all grains grown.

“In this case, we have got approval to buy 61,000 tons of maize, millet and sorghum and the purchasing will begin shortly.”

Ogbe said the council was informed that Nigerian grains posed health hazards to consumers.

According to him, “We also informed the 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.”

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