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FG Approves N24bn For Modular Irrigation Project In Adamawa

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August 5, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has approved N24 billion for the execution of a smart modular irrigation project in Adamawa state.

Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Professor Mohammed Sani Haruna, made this known to newsmen on Friday, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

Haruna said the approved fund by the President was for a modernised modular irrigation system pilot scheme.

He said: “We have acquired 10-hectare farmland on lease in Adamawa State, using water from River Benue, where this pilot scheme is starting and it is estimated that, based on the technologies to be used there, it is possible to have three multi-crop seasons in a year, commencing from October this year, God willing.

“The monies are for the pumps, the structure, the farming techniques, the farmers, the officers, the offices that are needed, the vehicles, and the administrative management, up to the period that we will have this demonstration farm, using modular irrigation system first model. The first model in the sense that this one we’re drawing water from River Benue is, of course, solar-powered”.

On the purpose of his visit, the NASENI boss said he came round to show the financial details of the agency’s operation to the President, adding that the modular irrigation project would enhance agricultural development in the country and also enable farmers to produce crops three times round the year.

He said the President, in his capacity as the Executive Chairman of the agency, needed to be updated on the way the place is being run, adding that his request to know the state of the accounts was not because there had been any suspicious activity.

He says: “It’s not for anything suspicious, but we have been asking for funding and more funding, then you want to know the status of what is happening so far. For example, I have said to you, the 1% of the Federation Account due to NASENI, we receive only the federal government component of it, instead of 1% before it’s shared to the states and others that benefit from this.

“Last week, the President approved N24 billion for a smart irrigation system, on request by NASENI. So, it is his thought if our money is remitted, why ask for further funding? Just to clarify the situation, not because of any other thing, to know the status and, of course, to give him exactly, as the Chairman of the Board NASENI, he should know to the last Kobo, what do we have, what don’t we have, to guide his decisions on matters.”

Explaining the funding of the agency, Haruna said the statutory 1% of the Federation Account meant to be drawn for its running is dedicated to the execution of some priority projects that had been approved by the government.

According to him: “The application of these funds is in some priority projects approved by the government. The capital components include payment of 15% of the local counterpart funding for three key projects in the Power sector; the development and production of solar cells locally; the development and production of electric power transformers and the third one is a high voltage testing laboratory.

“Now, these are projects with 85% funding support from China, which is part of what is approved and being implemented in the 2021/2022 Borrowing Plan. That is number one and in that, out of the $48,879,103, representing 15% of what Nigeria is paying as the 15% counterpart funding based on the money remitted to NASENI in the first and third quarters. $23,928,063 had been remitted in these two quarters.

“The other areas of application of this fund include the development and domestications of technologies NASENI has to acquire from a partnering organisation in Italy, de Lorenzo, in the production of technical science laboratory equipment for primary school, secondary school and tertiary institutions.

“The third component is the development of skills development centers in six geopolitical zones. For now, one each per zone. The fourth component of application of this fund is in the development of three out of 12 new centres approved by the President for different states of the federation and of course, continued research and development, reverse engineering and assembly of some military equipment in collaboration with two different private companies, that is Nigeria Machine Tools Limited, Oshogbo and PROFORCE, manufacturer of some military hardware, based in Ogun State, and of course, completion of the remodeled NASENI headquarters.

“These are priority areas where these funds have been applied. The briefings also included the newly developed equipment and machines that are needed to have mechanized farming. This simple, but needed equipment includes equipment for cultivation, for planting, for weeding, for processing, harvesting, up to food preservation.”