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Agriculture: Senate wants ministry to defend foreign loan request

The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts has urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide more details of its plan to utilize the foreign Loan of over 900 million Euros and 1.5billion dollar foreign loans they requested.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Local and foreign debts , Senator Clifford Odia, stated this at a meeting with the Ministries of Agriculture , Finance and Debt Management office .
Senator Odia emphasised the importance of ensuring that the Loans are judiciously utilized.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono explained that part of the loan being requested was to enable the Ministry go into Mechanised Agriculture across the 774 local government areas of the country.

The minister said that out of the 92million hectares of land available in the country, only 34 million hectares have been utilized and explained that over 700 service centres have been set up across the country for mechanized farming. .

The Members of the committee were not convinced by the minister on the approval for the loan and stressed that the Ministry should do more Capacity building for people to be engaged in Mechanised farming.

On the $1.5billion loan being sought for the 36 states government and the federal capital Territory , for execution of critical infrastructure against resurgence of COVID – 19 pandemic , the Committee Chairman , Clifford Ordia , directed the DG DMO , to furnish them with credit worthiness of the states.

Consequently, the Committee resolved that the DG, Debt Management Office , must furnish it with such information before approval can be given for the loan.

Similarly,the Senate Committee on FCT met with officials of FCT – IRS , and rejected the budget proposal of N8.5 billion presented for year 2021.

The rejection of the proposal was based on series of discrepancies in the proposals.

They were however asked to appear before the Committee on Thursday for a repeat of the budget presentation.

Amaka Ene

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