The $1billion loan facility under the Federal Government ‘Green Imperative’ scheme will facilitate jobs creation, food security and self-sufficiency, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said.
The minister was speaking at the official launching of the project by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
She said the scheme is one of the products of the government’s diversification initiatives aimed at boosting growth and economic development in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
“The positive results the loan will yield under the ‘Green Imperative’ initiative in the agricultural sector, will no doubt transform the country’s economic landscape,” she said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday by her spokesperson, Ella Abechi.
Mrs Ahmed said nothing would deter President Muhammadu Buhari from continuing with the diversification drive “that is already yielding positive results within the three years of his administration, especially through the agricultural sector”.
The vice president laid the foundation towards securing the loan by holding several meetings with the team of experts from Brazil.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, led the Nigerian delegation to Brazil to initiate and develop the project with the Brazilian ’think tank’ and relevant interest groups.
Mrs Ahmed said the ‘pinitiative was designed to promote agricultural mechanisation, create employment opportunities for the energetic youth and help achieve food self-sufficiency.
“The project will be implemented with a total loan package of $1.1billion majorly from the Brazilian government, which will be disbursed in four tranches over a period of two years,” the minister explained.
“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 landscape of Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to state that the 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.”
This arrangement, she noted, is expected to reduce fiduciary risks and create more opportunities for the youth and those involved in assembling the machinery and implements.
Also, the implementation of the project, according to the minister, will be purely private sector-led in all its operations, including the assembling of the machinery/ implements, operation of the service and agro-processing centers.
“The project to involve the Nigerian private sector, youth and women will be implemented in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the country in phases, with the selection of the participants to be based on merit, devoid of politics and any form of nepotism,” she explained.