The Federal Government has disclosed plans to borrow $1.2 billion to boost the country’s agricultural sector under what it called the Green Imperative Project (GIP), adding that it would be repaid in the next 15 years.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammdu Buhari on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari, who addressed newsmen yesterday in Abuja, explained that the initiative will create a market-oriented private sector driven service centres across the country.
Kwasari disclosed that the funds would be borrowed from the Deutsche Bank, Development Bank of Brazil, while it would be reinsured in the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Corporation of Insurance for Export Credit.
“The Green Imperative is an agricultural bilateral project between Nigeria and the government of Brazil. This project has been in the making and we have reached a point where we are completely ready for a take-off. The Green Imperative will address two issues with agricultural mechanisation in Nigeria.
“It will provide mechanisation and agro-processing. And these two work hand-in-hand in what we call service centres. These service centres will be created across the country to complement and support primary production through mechanisation and value addition through agro processing.
“This has carefully been designed over the years. We are happy to have this update today because we have been waiting for the National Assembly to give the go-ahead to activate this load.
“And yesterday the Minister of Agriculture sent me to speak with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, and the chairperson responsible for foreign and local debts. And we have reached a good point where they have transmitted the letter to consider this borrowing because Mr President has requested for it.
“They stepped it down in order to consider budget amendment 2020. So, now is the right time to take off and we can discuss in details what the project will do.
“The most important thing is that it is private sector driven. All the service centres will be on and operated by private entrepreneurs and they will have the responsibility of serving the loan.
“If we are to summarisee Green Imperative, it is a borrowing that will inject Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of €995 million or $1.2 billion that has been structured financially to allow the government of Nigeria use her bilateral negotiation and arrive at a financing that is below 3 per cent per annum interest rate and have a long gestation period of 15 years to repay.
“Subsequently, this loan, having been secured, Nigeria will insure it in the insurance market. So, we have financing coming from Dutsche Bank, Development Bank of Brazil, and it is reinsured by the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Corporation of Insurance for Export Credit…”