…. as construction of mills to cost N10bn, ready by Dec 2019
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- AS Federal Government, Monday, officially awarded contract for construction of 10 large rice milling plants, Bayelsa State included among nine others have them for production of large quantity and quality of rice towards achieving self-sufficiency in rice.
This was disclosed by the Minister Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Monday, as he signed ECP Contract Agreement on establishment of 10 Integrated large-scale rice processing plants in Nigeria, along with the Minister of State, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, on behalf of the federal government with management of Messers MV Agro Engineers Nigeria Limited and MV Agro Engineers PVT Limited, India, led by Movi Baba, in Abuja.
According to Ogbeh government will advertise for those who want to off-take the rice milling plants from the states identified, which they will come and show they capacity to off-take them, and have the capacity to pay 10 per cent down payment, along with the technical capacity to own a unit before it will be given to them.
He further stated that when the contractor arrives they will install the mills and then Bank of Agriculture, BoA, will take over the repayment of the loan over a period of 10 years.
Other benefiting states include Benue, Anambra, Ogun, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara.
He said: “We are using this method of agro-industrialization because of the reality of the economic situation in our country. It is extremely difficult for any individual in Nigeria now to walk to the bank and raise a loan in less interest rates for long-term investments, and these interest rates have been like this for the past 30 years, standing weigh 25 per cent on the average, is impossible for any investor to go and raise money of this size and put in investment and hope to make a success of it.
“We will advertise those who want to off-take from the states identified, which are Bayelsa, Benue, Anambra, Ogun, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara. They will come and show they can off-take, and have the capacity to pay 10 per cent down payment, and have the technical capacity to own a unit then we give them. When the contractor arrives they will install these mills and then Bank of Agriculture will take over the repayment of the loan over a period of 10 years.”
The Minister also charged MV Agro Engineers Nigeria Limited and MV Agro Engineers PVT Limited, India to make good machines and deliver the best, “Because if you do well now you will do more in future. We assure you more mills would be bought in the future. Supply adequate stock of spare parts”, he said.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen Lokpobiri Heineken, in his remarks urged the contractor to deliver the project as planned by December 2019.
“We express gratitude to the President and Federal Executive Council, FEC, for unanimously approving the Memo that was approved by council. We have been ministers for three years no memo has enjoyed that level of acceptability as it happened to this memo we presented.
“That is essential because rice has become a staple food and rice produced in Nigeria is one of the best in the world. Before now Nigeria has been a dumping ground of all types of parboiled rice reason being that Nigerian rice is filled with stones. But today those who are eating Nigerian rice can attest to the fact that Nigerian rice is fresh and best in the world in terms of quality because of the sweetness.
“We are happy that today that we are adding another capacity of milling rice for the benefit of Nigerians. We don’t have large scale rice mills in Nigeria, but with we have very limited number, which government decided to be increasing the capacity from time to time. We are happy we have gotten to the point of signing the agreement. I call on the contractor ECP India-Nigeria Group for the delivery should be done as planned”, Lokpobiri stated.
Giving an overview of the project, Director of Agribusiness and Marketing, Muyiwa Azeez, said documents supporting the realisation of the mills have been put in place, and also adverts will be placed for bidding to get the plants installed in the states that are benefiting.
“The Minister calculated through a survey that Nigeria requires 50-70 large scale rice mills. It was against this backdrop the current administration in the Ministry submitted to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the need to facilitate the acquisition of 10 large scale rice mills which will be made available to the off-takers in the country.
“Business proposals are being expected, all arrangements have been concluded. Like the contractor has said all of the parts are to be procured from Olam, which is the best rice mills manufacturer in the world. The rice mills will be ready by December 2019. We have also constituted implementation committee that would work with the Bank of Agriculture, BoA”, he added.