The federal government has approved the concessioning of 20 out of the 33 silos in the country.
This was disclosed by the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
The minister, who said government would earn N6billion from the deal in 10 years added that each of the silos had no less than 100000 metric tons capacity.
According to him, arrangement had been perfected to ensure that the concessioning was terminated in the event that any investor failed to perform.
The minister also noted that the development would boost production of grains across the country, saying that there was high demand for grains export from the country.
He said ,”Today we presented a memo to council seeking concession the silos which have been built in different parts of the country. A total of 33 silos exit with a capacity of 1,360,000 metric tons of grains and there are sprees almost evenly through the geo-political zones of the country.
“In 2014, government decided to concession some of these silos, so that the private sector can help use them and pay a fee to the federal government.
“The process was carried out by the world bank, the concession committee of government, NGOs, private sector and the ministry of agriculture. It has taken this long to arrive at this because the processes are very slow, we wanted absolute accountability.
“And so we arrived today at presenting a memo to council to approve the concessioning of 20 these silos most of them with a capacity of 100,000 tons. Members of council a lot of questions on how we intend to manage this and make sure the concessionaire actually do the right thing.
“We informed them that the fact that we are concessioning some of the silos does not mean we are reneging on our responsibility to guarantee food security. We are keeping six of the silos which is according to international standard, we keep five percent of all the grains we harvest every year, the rest will go to private sector groups. Those who bided and have shown capacity have been the ones allocated the silos, those who are unable to manage them will have the concession revoked.
“Government will earn N6 billion in the 10-year period of the first instance. The federal government remains the owner of the silos and at the end of 10 year it can neither renew, revoke or takeover the silos and operate them ourselves.
“The advantages of the concessioning include, private sector groups with these silos in their possession will drive the production of grains where these things grow more suitably. We have request for grains from different parts of the world, soy beans, sesame, sorghum and millet.
“ We also have massive rice production going on and the likes of Dangote and Coscharis going into rice production now need these silos. So concessioning it to them means they will organise local groups to produce grains for them to dry properly and store and market when the need arises or even export.That the council approved today.
Speaking also at the briefing, the minister of water resources, Suleman Adamu, who said he briefed FEC on the current flooding in parts of the country, noted that the prediction on intense rail fall and attendant flooding had come through.
He said government was still observing the flow of River Niger and the water level which had only reached 11.91 metres, away from the 12.4 metres that caused tremendous disaster in 2012.
Adamu dispelled the rumour that the flooding in Nigeria was a consequence of the release of water from a dam in Cameroon, saying that no such thing happened.
On the refusal to evacuate from flood prone areas and measures by government to help out, he said, “We have to continue to appeal to communities to stop blocking water channels.”
On his part, special adviser media to the president, Femi Adesina, spoke to State House correspondents on the current status of Zainab Ahmed if she has replaced Adeosun as minister of finance.
According to him, Ahmed is now in charge of the ministry of finance.
“She is no longer minister of state, budget and national planning, she will be minister of finance, in fact that was how she was addressed at council. Don’t forget it is also a legal thing, if a minister is going to be appointed there are procedures that is why it is a deployment,” Adesina explained.
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