The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a loan facility of 1.2 billion dollars to finance the mechanisation of agriculture in the country.
Mr Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting anchored from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The virtual meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The online FEC was in line with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocol on physical distancing as Nigeria strives to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nanono said that the planned mechanisation of agriculture would span across 632 local governments.
“Today, we presented a joint memo with the Federal Ministry of Finance in which we seek the approval for a loan facility of about 950 million Euros translated probably to 1.2 billion dollars.
“This loan is for the purpose of agricultural mechanisation in this country –that will cover about 632 local governments plus 140 processing plants.
“This is going to be a major revolution in the agriculture sector, that we have never seen before,’’ he said.
On his part, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said that the council approved a memo for award of contract in the sum N683 million for the purchase of 19 vehicles for Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
“This is the first time in four years that NPA is buying any vehicle and that is why the council and said fine.
“These are operational vehicles; they are not for management staff; they are all Toyota vehicles,’’ he said.
More so, the Minister of Power, Malam Sale Mamman, said the ministry sought approval for the revised estimated total cost for the augmentation of the subsisting contract in the sum N47.2 million.
He said that the contract was for the provision of additional critical power grid infrastructure for the full evacuation and utilisation of 40mw currently from Kashimbila via Takum-Wukari and Yendev.
“This is to evacuate completely 40 megawatts to the National Grid.
“If it is not evacuated, Nigerian government will lose not less than 130 megawatts of power which is equivalent to almost nine million in a year,’’ he said.
Contributing, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, said that the critical power evacuation served not just Taraba and Benue but the entire North East.
“Power is something that you cannot store and once it is stranded, it poses a lot of risk.
“It is better for us to get this additional funds so that we evacuate it and then of course, 40 megawatts power will do a lot to improve the lives of many Nigerians,’’ he said.