PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.5 billion for some irrigation projects, Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu has said.
The minister said the N6.5 billion was part of a N13 billion counterpart funding needed to implement the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria Project (TRIMING).
He said the World Bank was ready to invest $495 million as a credit facility for the TRIMING project.
Adamu stated this yesterday while reeling out his three years scorecard as a minister and also to celebrate Nigeria Media Water Week in Abuja.
He said the Buhari administration initiated the National Irrigation Development Programme to aid diversification of the economy, guarantee food security and create employment.
The minister added that the administration’s effort on irrigation would enable it deliver 42,000 hectares of irrigated farmland in 2018 and 41,000Ha in 2019.
He said the target is to achieve 500,000Ha irrigated farmland by 2030 under the project.
The minister said: “To aid diversification of our economy, guarantee food security and create employment, we have initiated the National Irrigation Development Programme which is aimed to establish additional 100,000Ha of irrigated farmland by 2020 and another 500,000Ha by 2030.
“We also plan for additional 1,000,000Ha of irrigable land to be developed by the private sector and state governments within the same period. Our current effort will enable us to deliver 42,000Ha in 2018 and 41,000Ha in 2019.
“The World Bank is supporting the implementation of TRIMING with a credit facility of $495 million. The project involves rehabilitation, expansion of about 42,000Ha of irrigation land under the first phase to be completed by 2022.
“The counterpart funding required for TRIMING is in the region of N13 billion and President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously approved 50 per cent of that counterpart funding.
“We expect the project to proceed at the speed of light.”
The minister said on assumption of office in 2015, he undertook a technical audit and review of projects in the water sector and discovered that there were 116 abandoned and uncompleted water projects left behind by past administrations.
The minister said this enabled his ministry to prioritise the 116 uncompleted and abandoned projects.
He added that the ministry, under his watch, only added two new projects – which he did not name, to the ones he met on ground.
The minister also said his ministry under its National Water Resources Masterplan and Roadmap identified that Nigeria had hydropower potential of 12,220 megawatts.
He said only 1,930MW of this potential has been developed at Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro dams.
“We are currently making progress for the concessioning of 30MW Gurara Hydropower plant, which is planned to come into full operations soon. We are also progressing on our collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to concession the 40MW Kashimbila hydropower plant, recently completed.
“We are in advanced discussions with potential investors for other hydropower projects, including Gurara II (350MW), Lokoja (750MW) and Makurdi (1,000MW), among others,” the minister added.