The Federal Ministry of Water Resources says it will require no less that N32 billion to meet the target of 100,000 hectares of irrigated agriculture in the 2017 budget.
The Director, Irrigation and Drainage in the ministry, disclosed this in an interview with newmen in Abuja, yesterday.
He said there was a shortfall already in the 2017 budget for irrigation purposes.
According to him, the shortfall is one of the challenges that may affect the implementation of all projects listed in the Ministry’s strategic plan.
He said that, “although, there are promises from extra budgetary funding, it was however important that intervention funds be available to close the gaps.
“We need additional N32 billion to meet the target, so that, if we inject these funds into the irrigation schemes, we will be able to meet up.
“If we do it this year and also do something corresponding to that next year, we will be able to meet up with the target of adding additional 100, 000 hectares.
“This is because we can’t fund these budgets from normal appropriation, we need intervention funds, and the Presidency is encouraging us.
“If we have to develop 100,000 hectares, we cannot rely on normal budgetary provisions, we had made this request last year, and we have positive response,” he said.
Offie said the ministry was assessing the cash flows and the specific amount required to develop additional hectares to avoid the mistakes of the previous administrations.
He said that developing irrigation farming was paramount for meeting the target goals of food security and job creation.
He said that agriculture cannot rely on rain-fed agriculture, saying with developed irrigation practices, Nigeria could supplement, thereby helping farmers to develop their crops.
He said that Nigeria is blessed with a weather that could promote three cropping seasons in a year, adding that with well-developed agriculture, employment would be created.
Offie said the ministry has realised that, if the nation must attain food security, it must embark on deliberate measures to encourage irrigation farming.
He said that rain water dependence would not meet the needs of agriculture, especially in the Northern states, saying the season was usually short with little water collection.
Eco Currency: Finance Ministers, C’Bank Govs Oppose Buhari, Others
Nigeria and some other West African countries have kicked against the adoption of Eco as regional currency by President Muhammadu Buhari and others.
This is contained in a communiqué read by the Minister for Economy and Finance of the Republic of Guinea, Mr Mamadi Camara, in Abuja, yesterday.
The communiqué was issued after an Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Ministers of Finance and Governors of the Central Banks of the Member States of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ).
Camara said the meeting noted with concern, the declaration by the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Alasane Outtarra on December 21, 2019 to unilaterally rename the CFA Franc as “Eco” by 2020.
He said: “WAMZ Convergence Council wishes to emphasise that this action is not in line with the decisions of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS for the adoption of the “Eco” as the name of an independent ECOWAS Single Currency.
“WAMZ Convergence Council re-iterates the importance for all ECOWAS member countries to adhere to the decisions of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government toward the implementation of the revised roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency Programme.
“The WAMZ Convergence Council recommends that an Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the WAMZ Member States be convened soon to discuss this matter and other related issues.”
According to him, those at the meeting are, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Gambia, Mambury Njie and Minister of Finance of Ghana, Ken Ofori Atta.
Others were Minister of Finance and Development Planning Liberia, Samuel Tweah Jr, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria, Zainab Ahmed and the Minister of Finance, Sierra Leone, Jacob Shaffa.
Also in attendance were Central Bank governors of Gambia, Mr Buah Saidy, Gambia; Ernest Addison of Ghana; Louncenry Nabe of Guinea; Aloysius Tarlue of Liberia; Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria and Kelfala Kallon of Sierra Leone.
The Tide reports that eight West African countries had agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco, thereby effectively severing the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler, France.
The countries include Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
RSG Dispels Rumours Of Unapproved Structures Demolitions
The Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Engr Austin Ben-Chioma, has dispelled rumours making the rounds that the state government demolished structures that were not originally marked by the construction company handling the Rumuogba flyover project for demolition.
Ben-Chioma, who cleared the air on the rumours, on Tuesday in a chat with newsmen while supervising the demolition exercise, noted that the ministry only demolished structures that the construction company, Julius Berger had marked as being in the Right of Way (RoW) of the flyover, and for which compensation was paid.
He said that there was enough evidence to show that the ministry had not exceeded the demolition instruction given by Julius Berger Plc.
According to him, “I am on site and evidences are shown as you can see that we did not exceed the red line marked by Berger” adding that the property owners, “are not telling the truth because the evidences are visible and verifiable”.
The commissioner pointed out that, of the three flyovers under construction, the Rumuogba flyover was the longest with about 517.5 metres length.
He, however, noted that there was the challenge of high-rise buildings along the path, which must be cut to maintain the RoW of the flyover, having given the property owners till Thursday, January, 16 (yesterday) to do the reduction themselves to avoid using the ministry’s tractors which could negatively impact the buildings.
On the payment of compensations to those affected by the demolition, the works commissioner said 95 per cent of the compensation had been paid already to affected landlords.
“Government has paid 95 per cent of compensation to property owners and they are complying with the process,” he said.
Corroborating the claims, the consultant in charge of compensation for demolished structures, Mr Emma Wike, said all affected landlords would be paid what is due them by the end of the week.
According to him, most of the claimants, we sent them letters and those that gave power of attorney to consultants, estate surveyors and valuers or lawyers, we also wrote to them and informed them this is where the payment is being held. They’ve been coming to collect their money; within the week, we are going to pay more and if we do that, it will be remaining less than 10 percent of those that have not collected their money.
CBN Gets New Deputy Gov
President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Dr. Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Obiora will replace Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the President has already forwarded a letter nominating Dr. Obiora to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the name of Dr. Kingsley Isitua Obiora to the Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“In a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007.
“Dr. Obiora, upon confirmation by the Senate, replaces Dr. Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.
“Dr. Obiora holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, a Masters in Economics from the University of Ibadan, and a Doctorate in Monetary and International Economics, also from the University of Ibadan.
“He is currently an Alternate Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, United States of America”, the statement said.
Since joining IMF as an Economist in 2007, Dr. Obiora has worked in various countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
While on leave from the IMF, he worked with the Nigerian government as Special Assistant to the President’s Chief Economic Adviser and Technical Adviser to the National Economic Management Team.
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