FCTA, Chinese Firm Sign N7.25bn Tractor Hiring Scheme Agreement
By Deji Wale Fadeyi, Abuja
Towards ensuring food security in the nation's capital, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has concluded arrangements for the signing of an agreement with a Chinese firm, for the procurement of tractors worth N7.25 billion or $50 million.
Under the arrangement, FCTA is to provide the guarantee for accessing the facility from the Chinese Export and Import Bank, while beneficiaries are to repay the money between five to 10 years.
Meanwhile, FCT Minister of State Chief Chuka Odom has called on President Umaru Yar'Adua to fast track ongoing efforts to improve power supply in the country with the view to reducing the cost of doing business and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) especially in the manufacturing sector of the nation's economy.
While briefing the Minister on the development, Ahmed Adekunle, President of Nigeria Investment Cooperative Agency (NICA), an outfit that would be involved in the hiring scheme explained that the project was aimed at complementing ongoing effort by the present administration to achieve food security in the country.
He explained that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed by Chuka Odom, FCT Minister of State; Abba Ruma, Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources; representative of the Chinese government and NICA.
Adekunle said, “with the Chinese collaboration, we are going to get between five to 10 years of financing, we will be able to get funding from the Chinese government Nexim bank to the tune of $50 million.
He revealed that NICA is one of the agencies approved by Federal Government to certify all the tractors before government can buy farming equipment from private sector or any international organization.
“We are one of the 16 private companies that were accredited to operate the tractor delivering services by the federal government in 2008 to 2009. We are one of the beneficiaries of that contract. One of the major reasons why we are here today is to meet the FCT Minister of State”. He said
Adding: “Over the years there has been a working relationship between us with the Chinese government making proposals to see how the equipment can scale down in terms of pricing to about 40 percent to 50 percent.
“This can only be possible is by local assembling and manufacturing of some of these agricultural equipments, so the FCT minister in his efforts is spearheading the hosting of the Chinese delegate to sign the working agreement, approved by the Chinese government through the Chinese company with us here in Nigeria.”
Adekunle also unveiled plans to establish the assembling factory in the country, and also utilize some of the funding that comes along with these facilities offered by the Chinese firm.
He noted that the company also contributed 60 percent into the tractor hiring scheme initiated by the present administration aimed at improving food security in the country.
Adekunle who expressed the commitment of his outfit to ensure sustainability of the project, explained that NICA is involved in the tractor hiring scheme embarked on by the government.
All beneficiaries including women under the aegis of Rural Women Aid are to form cluster groups in order to access the funding and acquisition of the equipment including small harvester.
“We contributed up to 70 percent to the implementation of this tractor hiring scheme, and we are bringing the same into the FCT whereby we are going to get 80 percent of the farmers in FCT into cooperatives structure of at least between 50 to 60 groups. These groups Nigerians will be provided with 20 to 30 units of tractors of which these tractors.
“They are going to put it into daily use for over a period of the raining season that we have in the north. We have four months and average of five raining season and nine months of dry season. So these tractors during the raining season, is to be put in use to generate of average of between 25,000 to N30, 000 on a daily basis to pay these tractors over a period of three to four years.| Article source