The Federal Government has approved N13 billion for the procurement of 10 integrated rice mills and 6 high quality cassava flour mills to boost rice and cassava production in the country.
This is even as government approved N568 million for the award of contract for the construction of an additional transformer for the Maiduguri sub-station.
Briefing journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which was chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, Akinwumi Adesina, the minister of agriculture, said the rice mills will be located in 10 states of the federation.
The 10 mills each 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, Nassarawa states.
Adesina, who told BusinessDay that there was currently a total of 21 rice mills, also said more integrated mills were needed because three out of those mills currently on ground do not have parboiling capacities.
He said 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 added that 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.
Council also gave approval for the award of contract for the additional construction of 1x60MVA, 132/332KV transformer to the Maiduguri 1x150MVA, NK330/132 sub-station in favour of Messrs Best Crompton Engineering (Africa) Limited in the sum of $2,250,446.72 and payable at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment plus N208,592,058.01 and completion period of 12 months.
The project 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. 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.