Niger State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alternative Bank on sustainable development of the State.
The MOU expected to cover Education, Health, Agriculture, Transportation, Energy, and infrastructure among others was signed in Abuja.
Governor Mohammed Umar Bago who signed on behalf of the State Government, expressed delight with the financial institution for its readiness to partner the State Government, emphasizing that the move would allow the state harness its agricultural potential.
Governor Umaru Bago observed that the state has not been able to cultivate up to 1% of its arable land stressing that the State government intends to procure some earth moving equipment like Caterpillar, bulldozers, payloaders on a long lease to prepare land for the cultivation of about 4.5m hectares in the next ten years.
He further announced that the State is discussing with Almarai; a Saudi multinational dairy company for the production of Alfalfa plant due to the economic value of the plant.
The Executive Director of the Alternative Bank, Garba Mohammed who signed on behalf of the financial institution, explained that an international partner has already expressed willingness to invest Sixty – Five million dollars to set up a sugarcane plantation on five hectares of land in Niger State, with an estimated output of 50,000 tonnes of sugar annually.
He said when established the sugarcane plantation would create over 4,700 job opportunities, production of methanol, and provision of 40,000 tonnes of animal feeds and generation of 11mgwt of electricity.
The Executive Director also said another development partner from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is ready to invest between 1 to 10 million U.S. dollars for the exportation of the Alfalfa plant and that 100,000 hectares would be required for the cultivation of the plant.
On the purchase of earth moving equipment, Mohammed suggested that the State government should get Ijarah Sukuk at the capital market for between 5 and 7 years pointing out that it would reduce cost and the equipment would return the investment made without the State necessarily putting in much money into it.