Abuja – Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi says the State Government will seek partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), for development of power plant, solar energy and rice mill.
Umahi disclosed this on Wednesday when he visited the Acting Managing Director of BOI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, in Abuja.
He said the state had been making efforts to increase rice production, adding that the state had also put some infrastructure in place to that effect.
“We have this five megawatts of power plant; the contract was awarded for 9.8 million dollars by my processor which is high.
“But BOI had earlier expressed opinion on the cost that the project was on the high side.
“We are at the verge of losing the one million dollars distribution from JEF, our own as a state is to finance the project with 60 per cent and we do not have the money to fund it but it is an important project.
“The location of the project is near the rice clusters and if we are talking about feeding ourselves, we have to be careful of how we treat the value chain, we need a power plant to power the rice mill.
“We are at the verge of losing this project and it is not good for the nation because that is going to be the first Biomax plant in the country’’, Umahi said.
He added that bidding for the project would commence on July 12 and the preferred bidder would emerge on July 15, noting that JEF had threatened to withdraw its fund if the project is not executed by October.
Umeanyi said the state would finance 60 per cent of the power plant project, 30 per cent by BOI and 10 per cent to be financed between Ebonyi Agro Rice Mill and Association of Abakaliki Rice Mill.
“The problem now is the funding, willingness, honesty and commitment to drive the project. In our desire to increase rice production, we have created three rice villages in the state.
“We want to get some Local Governments to be able to assess a minimum land of 10, 000 hectares’’, he said.
Umahi said there would be rice mill, schools and recreational facilities within the 10,000 hectares that would be made available to the state.
“Rice power plant will be made available to drive the power need of the mills.’’
He said the state had indicated willingness to partner with the bank on solar energy development to enhance the living standard of the people as well as boosting the economy base of the state.
“We also want to partner with the bank on solar energy development to enable us drive the Primary Health Centres with power.’’
Umahi said that the rate charged on agriculture and power loans by the bank was too high and called for review.
According to him, “if a farmer is charged high, then he goes about to cut corners, the tenure of the loan is too short and the rate charged is high.
Responding, Olagunju said there had been issues with the cost and location hence the bank had not been financing the project.
He said there was need to review the cost and location of the power plant project before the bank can step in.
“For us to be able to go ahead, there is need to review these two issues, we have to evaluate and come up with a team that will conduct the evaluation.
“In terms of efficiency, we need to tackle these issues, there were issues regarding the efficiency of Biomax project, there is also need to review it’’, Olagunju said. (NAN)
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