Kogi agriculture sector receives boost as Assembly approves loan

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has donated N7 million to 11 churches
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

…ISPO approved to guarantee Agric Integrated Africa Services Limited loan to build 50 tons capacity rice mill in Omi

Governor Yahaya Bello’s loan for the agriculture sector has been approved by the Kogi State Assembly

As part of the desire of the New Direction administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello towards the attainment of food sufficiency in Nigeria, Kogi State is partnering with Agric Integrated Africa Services Limited to build a 50 ton capacity Rice Processing Mill in Omi, Yagba West Local Government Area.

To achieve this, the Kogi State House of Assembly at plenary on 5 October, 2017, approved an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) to guarantee Agric Integrated Africa Services Limited, a private company, a loan facility to build a 50 tons capacity rice mill in Omi.

This is sequel to a letter sent to the House by the Executive Governor of the State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, asking for a resolution of the Assembly for the State Government to stand as surety for the company to access a loan facility of N4,017,059,993.16 (Four billion, seventeen million, fifty nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety three naira, sixteen kobo), as that will enable the company to complete the project in record time.

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The letter further stated that in line with the New Direction blueprint to promote Public Private Partnership initiatives in the state to create opportunities for the teaming youths to be gainfully employed and also boost the revenue base of the state, with the agricultural sector as vital, the Kogi State Government has taken 10 per cent shares of the equity in the establishment of the Rice Processing Mill.

While reading the letter from the chair, the Honourable Speaker, Right Honourable Kolawole Mathew, called for the contributions of house members to approve a resolution in favour of the State Government to stand as guarantor through the ISPO.

While supporting the resolution in favour of the State Government’s intention to guarantee the ISPO, the member representing Yagba West State Constituency, Hon. (Barr.) Oluwatoyin Lawal, commended the Executive for embarking on such a laudable venture to improve the agriculture sector of the State especially in rice production, calling on members to support the good gesture of the government.

Hon. (Dr.) Friday Ali, representing Ofu Constituency, in his contribution said since it is not a loan for the State Government but a resolution for Kogi State to stand as guarantor in order to promote public private partnership that will go a long way to boost the state economy and also create job opportunities for the teaming unemployed youths in the state, he lent his total support for the assembly to approve the ISPO.

The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Abdullahi Hassan, representing Dekina/Okura State Constituency, said the State Government should learn from the Dangote experience to know the kind of agreement they enter into, especially on employment opportunities that will be available when the facility is completed, noted that it is a laudable initiative to promote such partnerships in order to move the state forward.

Hon. John Abbah representing Ibaji State Constituency said the rice mill is good news for Kogi State, but noted that Federal Government is talking about the diversification of the nation economy with emphasis on the agriculture sector but was surprised on the independence anniversary speech of the President, that omitted Kogi State regarding rice production.

He said Kogi will join other states like Kebbi, noting that even the recent partnership between Lagos and Kebbi states is a great signal that Kogi State will come up the ladder.

He further said Nigeria consumes over six billion tonnes of rice annually, while with the latest improvement in the local production, the country could only produce four billion tons still leaving a gap of 2billion tons, which gives an ample opportunity for Kogi State to fill through realisation of the potentials of the project.

He consequently gave his maximum support for the resolution in favour of the State Government to act accordingly.

While Honourable Sunday Shigaba of Bassa State Constituency on his part buttressed the fact that the said facility when completed will make Kogi State the hub of Rice production in the north central.

Ruling on the resolution, the Speaker commended the State Government for embarking on such an initiative that is geared towards enhancing the economic base of the State, calling on other well meaning organisations to partner with the State Government in order to move the State to another level of development.