$1.1 billion loan needed to implement Nigeria-Brazil agriculture project

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The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday said that $1.1billion loan would be required for the implementation of the Nigeria-Brazil Cooperation Project Agriculture “Green Imperative.”

She made the disclosure while speaking at the launching of the project at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.

According to her, the loan will be majorly provided by the Brazilian Government.

The launch of the project, she said, is part of Buhari’s administration moves to reposition and diversify Nigerian economy in a sustainable way.

The loan, she said, will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machineries and implements in form of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts.

She said that the project is designed to repay the loan facility through its proceeds, stressing that the repayment will not bring any fiscal burden on the tax payers.

She said “The project we are launching today will be implemented with a total loan package of US$1.1billion majorly from the Brazilian Government which will be disbursed in four tranches over a period of two years.

“It is pertinent to state here that greater percentage of the loan will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machineries and implements in form of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts.
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“This arrangement is expected to reduce fiduciary risks and create more employment opportunities for our teeming youth and those that will be involved in assembling the machineries and implements.

“Another important benefit of the project is that its implementation will be purely private sector led in all its operations including the assembling of the machineries/ implements, operation of the service centres and the agro-processing centres.” she said

She also said that the project will be implemented in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the country in phases.

The Minister called on the Nigerian private sector, youth and women to get ready for the business.

The selection of the participants for the project, she said, will be done on merit to ensure success of the project.

“We will ensure that participation is devoid of politics and any form of nepotism.” she stated

She also explained that the Buhari’s administration was not unaware of the desire of many Nigerians to obtain external loans.

Speaking on moves to diversify the economic before Buhari’s administration, she said “Even though, past efforts were made to diversify the economic base of the country, the external revenue inflows remained stubbornly monolithic, i.e. mainly from oil.

“It is in this regard that this administration sees it as a national emergency to explore every possible opportunity to grow the non-oil sector. Accordingly, today, we are here to launch one of the products of the diversification initiatives of the Government, christened ’Green lmperative’.

“Let me first of all congratulate His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his visionary leadership and approval given for this project. Permit me also to congratulate His Excellency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo for his relentless commitment as the leader of the Economic Management Team, to this project right from its conception till date.

“Also, I will be remiss, if l do not appreciate the unyielding commitment of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh who had personally led Nigerian delegations to Brazll to initiate and develop the project with the Brazilian ’think tank’ and relevant stakeholders.

“As you are probably aware, the Green lmperative is designed to promote agricultural mechanization, create employment opportunities for our energetic youth and help achieve food seIf- sufficiency.

“Let me at this point thank the Government and people of Brazil for their support and commitment to this project. Nigeria and Brazil have similar climatic and soil conditions that make Brazilian agricultural implements easily adaptable in Nigeria. I understand that a tractor manufactured in Brazil in 1946 is still in use till today. This is the kind of technology that we will need in this country.

“I do hope such rugged tractors are what you will deploy for this project. I will like to express my appreciation to other partners like the Deutche Bank and Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) for their support in this project.

“l have no doubt that this project will help to ensure food self – sufficiency, create more employment opportunities for our teeming population and also help transform the economic land scape of Nigeria.” she said

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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