Work can now earnestly commence on the Apapa Wharf road as the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved and ratified the reconstruction contract worth N4.131 billion.
The Government had earlier handed over the road to Dangote Group, Flour Mills Limited and Nigerian Ports Authority, who will undertake the reconstruction project as part of their corporate social responsibility.
FEC also ratified works to be done on the 165Km Abuja-Kaduna highway at a cost of N1.58billion.
This is even as the minister of Finance obtained approval to secure a N3.38billion loan from the African Development Bank on behalf of Plateau State. The loan is to enable the state build its potato value chain as it accounts for 95 percent of potato produced in the country.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, alongside the Ministers of Finance Kemi Adeosun and Information, Lai Mohammed said he presented two memos to the FEC on the ratification of the road projects which initially had anticipatory presidential approval.
“I presented two memoranda. The memoranda were ratification memoranda on road woks that had to be done under emergency circumstances. The first was the Abuja – Kaduna highway which if you recall, we had to quickly do palliative work on in order to support the closure of Abuja airport runway which necessitated diversion of traffic to Kaduna. So, at that time, we didn’t have council approval. We just had anticipatory presidential approval as prescribed under the law for emergency works.
“The second one was with respect to Apapa-Wharf Road. Again, you will recall that there was a recent presidential order for a 24-hour port operation and that again put pressure on an already deteriorating road. If you recall, l also went to hand over that road sometime in June under the public-private partnership structure between Messrs Julius Berger, Flour Mills, NPA and Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to start the construction of that first phase of the road.
“The council also approved and ratified the works we had conducted on Kaduna – Abuja highway. Also, the terms and conditions upon which we handed over the road for Apapa were certified by BPP” he said.
He said FEC ratified works worth N1.58bn for the 165 km Abuja Kaduna Stretch where we did mainly parching of potholes to make the roads motor-able during the closure of the Abuja airport while it approved and ratified the N4.131billion Apapa project.
Speaking on the loan to be secured from the African Development Bank for Plateau State, to support the potato value chain, the Finance Minister explained that it was an existing loan adding that it has a 1 per cent per annum interest rate, 25 years repayment period with five years moratorium.
“The amount of the loan is N3.38 billion equivalent and Plateau State ought to contribute N595 million as their own counterpart funding. We have put a process in place to ensure adequate monitoring. This is really an important economic development for the nation and for Plateau State in particular. We have real advantage in potato production. We are really going to invest the money on roads. In some cases, the money will be used for roads to enable the products to come out. Sometimes, it is for storage. Sometimes, it is transportation. Sometimes, it is access to seedlings” she said.
The minister further explained that a loan previously cancelled from ADB and this was replacing that. “It is not a new loan. We cancelled it and redirected the money to request on behalf of Plateau State Government to support the potato value chain.
The rationale is that Plateau actually accounts for 95 per cent of Nigeria’s potato production and from Plateau, potatoes are actually exported to Ghana, Niger, Chad and other countries and despite that, there are huge profit losses because there is no enough storage and there is so much more we can do with Plateau’s potatoes she said.
When secured, Adeosun said the loan is expected to create 60,000 jobs in the potato value chain from processing, storage, replacement of current inputs and export, affecting 17 local government areas.