PM News Nigeria:

The Federal Government has approved a loan facility of N3.38 billion for Plateau Government to boost the production of Irish potatoes in the state, the Minister of
Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has disclosed.

Adeosun made this known when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the
Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

She revealed that Plateau was expected to contribute N595
million of the amount as its counterpart funding.

“My approval was on behalf of Plateau State to support the
potato value chain. There is a loan that we had previously
cancelled from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“So, it is not a new loan. We cancelled it and redirected the
money to request on behalf of Plateau State Government to
support the potatoes value chain.

“The rationale is that Plateau actually accounts for 95 per
cent of Nigeria’s potato production and from Plateau,
potatoes are actually exported to Ghana, Niger, Chad and
other countries and despite that, there are huge profit
losses because there is no enough storage and there is so
much more we can do with Plateau’s potatoes.

“So, AfDB has come up with a comprehensive programme
that will affect over 100,000 families. It is expected to
create 60,000 jobs in a potato value chain, from processing,
storage, replacement of current inputs and indeed, export.’’

According to the minister, the terms of the loan are one per
cent per annum interest rate and it has 25 years repayment
period with five years moratorium.
She said that the Plateau government would provide
counterpart funding and the balance would be borrowed,
adding that the potato project would affect 17 local
government areas of the state.
She said: “We expect it to make significant job creation.

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“The amount of the loan is N3.38 billion equivalent and
Plateau State ought to contribute N595 million as their own
counterpart funding.

“We have put a process in place to ensure adequate
monitoring and evaluation. This is really an important
economic development for the nation and for Plateau State
in particular. We have a real advantage in potato
production.

“We are really going to invest the money on roads. In some
cases, the money will be used for roads to enable the
products to come out. Sometimes, it is for storage.

Sometimes, it is transportation. Sometimes, it is access to
seedlings.’’

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde
Fashola, who also briefed the correspondents on the
outcome of the Council’s meeting, said two memoranda on
road constructions were ratified by the Council.

“The first was the Abuja-Kaduna highway which if you
recall, we had to quickly do palliative work on in order to
support the closure of Abuja airport runway which
necessitated diversion of traffic to Kaduna.

“So, at that time, we didn’t have council approval. We just
had anticipatory presidential approval as prescribed under
the law for emergency works.
“The second one was with respect to Apapa-Wharf Road.

“Again, you will recall that there was a recent presidential
order for a 24-hour port operation and that again put
pressure on an already deteriorating road.

“If you might recall, l also want to hand over that road
sometime in June under the public-private partnership
structure between Messrs Julius Berger, Flour Mills,
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Ministry of Power,
Works and Housing to start the construction of that first
phase of the road.’’