Plateau State Government has described claims by the former Minister of Youths and Sports Solomon Dalung that the State Government took a loan worth $ 350 million (N140 billion) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) payable over a 25 years period, for the development of Plateau’s potato value chain as a wild and malicious allegation.
A statement by the State Commissioner for information and Communications Dan Manjang said Contrary to the bogus and imaginary figures quoted by the former minister, the Loan amount signed between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Federal Ministry of Finance for the benefit of Plateau State is USD 11.2Million and not USD 350Million as claimed by Dalung.
According to the commissioner,it is surprising that the former Minister who claimed to have been part of the federal executive council meeting that made the approval do not know the fact and figures about the loan.
He explained that though the loan was approved cash was not transacted rather it was disbursed to Contractors and Consultants, paid directly by the AfDB under strict guidelines that are set by the bank.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Plateau State Government has been drawn to yet another round of wild and malicious allegations made by the former Minister of Youths and Sports Mr. Solomon Dalung while speaking at a webinar discussion convened by ViewPointNigeria group on Thursday 24th September 2020.
“Mr. Dalung claimed that the Plateau State Government took a loan worth $ 350 million (N140 billion) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) payable over a 25 years period, for the development of Plateau’s potato value chain.”
” He claimed that as a serving Minister at the time, he was a member of the Federal Executive Council and took part in that approval –but to date, no single value chain infrastructure development of potato can been or verified.”
“Even though it is a fact that Plateau State benefited from loan facility from the African Development Bank, it is rather sad that someone who claims to have been part of the approval of the facility does not know the amount of the loan.”
This has aptly put a lie to his desperate attempt to take glory for the transaction that he knows little to nothing about. It is on record that Mr. Dalung as then Minister “supposedly” representing Plateau State in the Federal Cabinet tried unsuccessfully to oppose the loan memo presented by the then Minister of Finance during the FEC Meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. “
“Contrary to the bogus and imaginary figures quoted by the former minister, the Loan amount signed between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Federal Ministry of Finance for the benefit of Plateau State is USD 11.2Million and not USD 350Million as claimed by Dalung.”
” Of this loan, 70% is being committed to Infrastructure, 20% for Capacity Building and 10% for Project Management. While he painted a picture as though the money was approved and given to Plateau State Government in cash, the fact is that the disbursement of the loan to Contractors and Consultants is paid directly by the AfDB under strict guidelines that are set by the bank. This is done gradually under the terms of the agreement and not lump sum as he would want the people to believe”
“If he wanted to be truthful, he knows that no single kobo is managed by the State Government. This is done through the Potato Value Chain Management Project Office which is not a parastatal or agency of the State Government, but operated under the supervision of the AfDB just like Fadama project among others.”
“Initially, the project covered only 10 out of the 17 LGAs based on the area of coverage of completed Fadama II project in the State. However, His Excellency Governor Simon Lalong demonstrated his passion for the progress of the programme and made a case for inclusion of the 7 other LGAs to benefit from the infrastructure component of the project during the appraisal mission which was accepted by the Bank. The whole 17 LGAs are today beneficiaries of the project.”
In addition, the Governor mandated the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to carry out research on the possibility of growing the crop in all the Local Governments of the State. The research returned positive and today, potatoes can be grown in the entire State.
As at today, the Potato Value Chain Project has completed many projects while others are on-going. Some of the projects include:
• 9 Community Markets (Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos East, Jos North, Jos South, Mangu, Riyom, Pankshin)
• 6 Community Markets have been completed and handed over to the Local Governments and Communities.
• 3 Community Markets and Diffuse Light Stores are awaiting handing over
• 9 Diffuse Light Stores
• 2 Processing Centres
• 200km Spot Road Improvement across the 17 LGAs of the State
• 17 Spring Captures and
• 26 Water Harvesting Structures for expansion of Dry Season Irrigation farming in Plateau State.”