FEC approves $1b Chinese loan for Gurara hydropower project

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved $1 billion Chinese loan from Chinese EXIM Bank for the Gurara II Hydropower Project.

The project, on completion will generate 360 megawatts of electricity.

It was one of the 18 memos considered at yesterday’s FEC presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Water Resources Minister Sulieman Adamu said the approval was part of the four memos the council approved for the ministry.

Only recently, the Debt Management Office (DMO) disclosed that Nigeria’s total debt profile as of December 31, 2018, stood at N24.387 trillion.

The Council also approved N5.7 billion revised total estimated cost for the completion of Nkari Dam in Akwa Ibom.

It also approved the appointment of a consultant for the resuscitation of the Gari Irrigation Project in Kano/Jigawa States. Council had in 2017 approved for the resumption of the project which was earlier abandoned for 17 years. The consultant is the same appointed in 1998 when the project first began.

Adamu said the contractors have been mobilised to site.

Approval was also given the revised estimated cost of N10.4 billion for the completion of Ile Ife Dam in Osun State.

The project which was started in 2004 and abandoned, has completion period is 24 months.

Also approved was N18.4 billion for the Ministry of Power, Works & Housing.

Throwing more light to the approvals granted the ministry, Power, Works & Housing Minister Babtunde Raji Fashola said: “My ministry presented two memos, one was for the construction of an inter-change and pedestrian bridge at Abaji in Abuja for N7.197 billion to address the perennial problem of accidents in that place which was approved by council.

“The second memo was for the procurement of 200,2017 meters by Yola Electricity Distribution Company Under the Meter Asset Providers  Scheme. As you might know, Yola Electricity Distribution Company is the DISCO that was surrendered to by the original holder.

“So, it’s under the Federal Government’s management. So they are buying 200,217 meters for consumers under their franchise which covers Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and Yobe states.

“The cost of those meters is N11.208 billion. 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.”

On the approval granted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, said the FEC granted approval to buy 61,000 tons of maize, millet and sogum at the cost of N9. 47 billion.

Speaking on the approval Ogbe said: “We have a memo approved in council for purchase of grains to reinforce the grains reserve. Everywhere in the world Silos are owned by government into which they purchase grains at the end of harvest. The average is usually between two and three percent of all grains grown.

“We also informed council of the problem we have with Nigeria grains especially maize, sesiny 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.

He added: “Most of the grains we have in this country are not dry enough. If you buy and put them in poly bags or dump them in Silos, it begins to gather moles and moles are source of cancer.

“We have pressure from some companies which operate in this country that we should allow them to import maize on the grounds that our maize are not of good quality and we said no you must buy local maize, because we are dealing with the challenge of afterthought.”

“Because there is still the tendency to prefer to import what we produce and the policy of this government is let’s use what we produce and save our foreign exchange which is why in the last three and half years we have saved $21 billion on import.”

(The Nation)