By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—MINISTER of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said, yesterday, that $1.1 billion loan would be required for the implementation of Nigeria-Brazil Cooperation Project Agriculture, known as the “Green Imperative.”
The loan, which will be majorly provided by the Brazilian government, is conceived to enhance the agricultural sector through the provision of modern machinery/ implements and also create five million jobs.
The minister, who disclosed this at the launching of the project at the old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the project was part of Buhari administration’s moves to reposition and diversify the economy in a sustainable way.
According to her, the loan will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machinery and implements in the form of Completely Knocked Down, CKD, parts.
She said the project was designed to repay the loan facility through its proceeds, stressing that the repayment will not bring any fiscal burden on tax payers.
The minister said: “The project we are launching today will be implemented with a total loan package of US$1.1 billion majorly from the Brazilian government, which will be disbursed in four tranches over a period of two years.
“It is pertinent to state here that greater percentage of the loan will be provided in kind through the supply of agricultural machinery and implements in form of Completely Knocked Down, CKD, parts.”
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who launched the project, explained that it was aimed at boosting agricultural production in Nigeria.
Osinbajo described the project as “signature focused,” saying: “We cannot bring our nation out of poverty without investment in agriculture.
“Also, the share number of young people coming of age will not only need to be fed but employed. They want dignified jobs with decent pay.”
The vice president further described the ‘Green Imperative’ as a game changer, because with mechanised agriculture everything becomes different.
The Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ricardo Guerra de Araujo, said the $1.1 billion contract includes 10,000 tractors to be assembled here in Nigeria, more than 707 centres to be established to train not less than 10,000 Nigerians.
He also said the project aims to create over five million new jobs, especially among the youths.