The Federal Government has approved N13 billion for the procurement of 10 integrated rice mills and six high quality cassava flour mills to boost rice and cassava production in the country.
The government also approved N568 million for the award of contract for the procurement and construction of an additional transformer for the Maiduguri Substation.
Briefing journalists after the weekly federal executive council meeting, which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, said the rice mills will be located in 10 states of the federation.
The minister spoke flanked by the ministers of Work, Mike Onolememen, Information, Labaran Maku, Health, Onyebuchi and the minister of state for power, Mohammed Wakil.
The 10 rice mills have a capacity to mill 36,000 metric tons of paddy rice, making it a total of 360,000 metric tons of paddy rice to be finely processed across the country.
The rice mills will be located in Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Ogun, Bayelsa, Niger, Kogi, Anambra, Benue and Bauchi States, while the cassava mills will be located in Ondo, Ogun, Abia, Delta, Cross River, Nasarawa states.
Mr. Adesina said the council deliberated extensively on the need for more integrated rice mills across the country as it is currently working at the total blackout of the importation of rice.
He said the mills “will not be owned or run by government, they are going to be owned managed and operated by the private sector, it’s part of government’s way of making this available at a term of financing that can be afforded by the private sector. The acquisition of this will be done by the bank of industry.
“It will select the private sector people, they will have the down payment, and the plants are going to be constructed and they have a financing facility for them to own it. Government is just doing its job which is to get things to happen, but the private sector will do every single thing about it,” he said.
He added that the government will no longer fold its arms and watch the private sector do the job, rather it is taking the lead and doing the right thing.
“There are still those who go around trying to get waivers to import rice and throw us into poverty, this will no longer be possible,” he said.
The Council also gave approval for the award of contract for the additional construction of 1x60MVA, 132/332KV transformer to the Maiduguri 1x150MVA, NK330/132 Substation, in favour of Messrs Best Crompton Engineering (Africa) Limited in the sum of $2.3 m payable at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payments.
That will be in addition to N208.5 million, with a completion period of 12 months.
The projection is one of the key projects designed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria to strengthen the national grid for effective power wheeling and to enhance socio economic development of the state, the minister said.
It is to be financed under the Eurobond of N800, 000,000.00 loan while the balance would be provided for in the 2015 budget.
Following a memo to council by the minister of works, Mike Onolememen, the council also approved the ratification of the treaty on the establishment of Abidjan-Lagos corridor by the governments of the Republics of Benin, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria.