NIGERIA – The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N13 billion for the procurement of 10 integrated rice mills and six high quality cassava flour mills to boost domestic rice and cassava production.

The FEC also approved a contract of N568million ($2.2m plus N208.5m) for the design and supply of a bigger transformer for the Maiduguri sub-station on Bagga Road, Borno state.

Briefing journalists after the weekly FEC meeting, Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, said the rice mills would be located in 10 states – Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Ogun, Bayelsa, Niger, Kogi, Anambra, Benue and Bauchi – while the cassava mills would be deployed to Ondo, Ogun, Abia, Delta, Cross River, Nassarawa states.

Each of the rice mills has a capacity to mill 36,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice, making it a total of 360,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice to be finely processed across the country.

There are plans for more integrated rice mills across the country as government was currently working towards a total stop to the importation of rice.

According to Adesina, the mills “will not be owned or run by government, they are going to be owned managed and operated by the private sector, it’s part of government’s way of making this available at a term of financing that can be afforded by the private sector.

“The acquisition of this will be done by the Bank of Industry. It will select the private sector people, they will have the down payment, and the plants are going to be constructed and they have a financing facility for them to own it.

“Government is just doing its job which is to get things to happen, but the private sector will do every single thing about it. There are still those who go around trying to get waivers to import rice and throw us into poverty, this will no longer be possible”.

The Maiduguri project is for the additional construction of 1x60MVA, 132/332KV transformer to the Maiduguri 1x150MVA, NK330/132 Substation, in favour of Merssrs Best Crompton Engineering (Africa) Limited, to be completed within 12 months.

The projection is one of the key projects designed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria to strengthen the national grid for effective power wheeling and to enhance socio-economic development of the state.

September 11, 2014;