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Fund paucity hits irrigation projects

Published by Guardian on Fri, 24 Feb 2012


DESPITE the pledge of the Federal Government to complete all irrigation projects in the country, such projects still stand the risk of being stillborn, no thanks to funding challenges.Minister of State for Power, Darius Ishaku, who inspected some of the irrigation projects embarked upon by the Federal and Kogi State government, also blamed the contractors for not showing enough commitment to seeing the projects through and expressed government's reservation over such attitude.He, therefore, warned contractors to either go back to their sites or be sanctioned, as government would not hesitate to terminate any contract where the contractor showed no sign of seriousness. He said the mandate to restore sanity to the power sector transcends any consideration.'This is a directive that must be accomplished,' the minister noted.The minister identified employment generation, establishment of cottage industries and improvement in the standard of living of the rural communities as some of the benefits derivable from the projects when completed.On his part, Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada has promised to work with the Federal Government to complete such projects in the state, stressing that his state was willing and ready to lend a helping hand.Wada stressed the willingness of the government of the state to support the project with needed funds to facilitate electricity generation and called on the Federal Government to establish mini hydro power plants in Ankpa and Ayingba dams all in the state.Speaking when he received the visiting Minister of State for Power, emphasised the basis for such support, stressing that the early completion of the projects to what he described as the frightening unemployment rate in the State, and as such, the need to keep the youths off crimes and delinquent behaviour.He said his government was prepared to bear part of the financial burden if only that would ensure successful completion and delivery of the various power projects for immediate use.President Goodluck Jonathan on tour of Nigeria to woo voters for his election had pledged to revived abandoned irrigation projects in the country to boost agriculture and mini dam based electricity.
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