FG, governors, Chinese firm meet over execution of $4.5 billion agric loan


• Nigerians to enjoy better deal in Ukraine, says Ambassador

The Federal Government at the weekend, met with some state governors and a Chinese company to discuss the implementation of a $4.5b agriculture infrastructure loan.

The meeting was a follow-up to the promise made by the Peoples’ Republic of China to President Muhammadu Buhari when he visited the country last year.

Under the plan, a Chinese company, YTO China-Africa Machinery Corporation (CAMACO) would support the country’s agriculture with farm machinery and irrigation equipment.

The Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State and his counterparts in Jigawa, Badaru Abubakar, Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), David Umahi (Ebonyi) and a representative of Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State attended the meeting.

The Federal Government and states, according to the cost of machinery and equipment that they requested for, would share the loan repayment. The refund would be spread in three phases of $1.5 billion, $2 billion and $1 billion.

Umahi urged the firm to supply high quality equipment that would be suitable for the country’s hot weather and technical maintenance. Also, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, cautioned that Nigeria would not accept low quality equipment from its Chinese counterpart.

Ogbeh tasked the company to assemble the initial equipment in Nigeria and also plan how some components could be manufactured locally.

The governors promised to meet again with the technical committee to identify the various agriculture produce that could be exported to China to attract foreign exchange.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Valerii Aleksandruk, has expressed hope that the standard of living of Nigerians residing in Ukraine would increase as his country’s economy improves.

He told The Guardian that the eight per cent growth that Ukraine recorded in its economy in the last quarter of 2016 would create opportunity for other Nigerians, especially students, to reside in the country.

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