…As CBN guarantees N259.8m loans to Plateau farmers***
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its joint venture partner, Nigerian Agip Oil Company, on Friday announced their readiness to boost the country’s power generation by 480 megawatts through the completion of the Okpai Phase II independent power project by 2019.
This was disclosed during the inauguration of the Okpai Phase II power project by the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.
He said all the partners were working hard to deliver on the project in terms of specifications, time and budget.
Baru stated that the decision by the partners to embark on the second phase of the Okpai power project was hinged on the success of first phase.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, quoted Baru as saying in a statement, “Although it (Okpai Phase I) was meant to generate 450MW into the national grid, it is now generating an average of 300MW due to evacuation challenge. This is a significant addition to the national grid.”
He noted that the Okpai Phase II project, on completion, would generate additional 480MW into the national grid.
The NNPC boss charged a 12-man committee set up to actualise the project to work hard and explore the possibility of delivering it ahead of the 2019 target date, as the project was critical to the nation’s power aspirations.
The Managing Director, NAOC, Massimo Insula, who was represented by Mr. Luca Bai, said everything had been put in place to ensure that the Okpai Phase II project was delivered on schedule.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Oando, Omamofe Boyo, said the company was committed to sustaining the successes recorded in the first phase of the project, adding that it would work with other partners to ensure prompt and timely delivery of the plant.
In the meantime, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has disclosed it had guaranteed a total of N259.823 million to 1,447 benefiting farmers in Plateau State between 2015 and 2017 and urged farmers who are yet to key into the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, ACGSF to do so and improve their input in the agricultural sub-sector.
The CBN, Jos Branch Controller, Satu Jatau gave the disclosure while giving a keynote address at the 6th, 7th and 8th combined Annual General Meeting, AGM of the First Lowland Microfinance Bank, Mabudi, Langtang South local government area of the State.
Mr. Jatau also urged the farmers to take advantage of the ongoing Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the CBN as well as the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme to which are aimed at creating links between small holder farmers with processors and develop agricultural clusters. He explained, “The Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, ACGSF is a risk sharing scheme with banks whereby the CBN guarantees to banks that lend to the agricultural sector of the economy.
“In Plateau State, total loans amounting to N98.925 million for 487 beneficiaries, N124.276 million for 646 beneficiaries and N36.622 million for 314 beneficiaries were guaranteed in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.”
The Branch Controller however commended the First Lowland Microfinance Bank, FLMFB for holding the AGMs saying, “Out of the 15 MFBs on the Plateau, FLMFB is one of the few that have been holding AGMS, it is a testimony of financial transparency and accountability.”
Earlier, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance Bank, Mr. Amos Balami who explained the AGM is for 2014, 2015 and 2016; stated that the essence of the First Lowland Micro Finance Bank was established to empower the low income households and boost food production, a goal the Micro-Finance Bank is working towards achieving. Balami further enumerated the major achievements of the Micro Finance Bank saying despite the feats, the Micro Finance Bank also passed through some low moments in the years under review and expressed optimism that the Micro Finance Bank would revert to profitability.
Punch with additional report from Vanguard