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1HE GUARDIAN, Tuesda1i May 24,20U

BUSINESS

I(ogi to commission Nl0b water project "'("H E Kogi State gove rn1 ment said o n Sunday that work has been co mpleted on the NIO billion Greater Lokoja Wa ter Project a nd t hat it wo uld commence operatio n next m onth. Mr. Emma nu el Bello, the Permanent Secretary in the sta te Ministry of Water Resources and Rural Development, sa id this whi le featuring on a Kogi Radio current a ffairs ~ro­ gramme - - Stewardship '. Bello sa id that test r unning of the new water scheme had begun in preparation for its formal inauguration in June. Acco rding to him, the comp letio n of the new water project, which has the capacity to ge nerate 10 milli on ga llons o f wate r per day, is a big relief to the g'ovemment and people of the state, as it wo uld put an end to the perennial wate r s honage in the city. Bello also said that the

new

water

scheme

would complement the existing water works in lokoja and raise the level of wate r supply to l okoja and its environs from the present rwo millio n gallo ns per day to 12 million ga llons per day. . He added that th e new wa ter project wou ld raise the l e~eI of total water supply to res idents of the state . to 30 million gallo ns per day fro m 20 millio n ga llons per day, add ing that the sta te government was not owing - -a kobo" on the project. The News Age ncy recalls that the construction of the wate r sch eme started in April 2008 and it was handl ed by th e Chin ese Geo Construction Company (CGCe). According to Bello, the project has been connected

to all existing structures to ensu re effective ' distribution of water from the new waterworks to parts of lokoja and adjo ini ng towns of Ga naja, Za nga, Kabba junction I Obaja na, Gadum o and others. The Permanen t Secretary said that a committee had been set up to work out affordab le water rates for all

categories of users, stressing tnat no government the world over co uld provide water free of cha rge. He said that payment of

water rates was to g uarantee susta inab ility and durability of the project in line with the World Bank policy on wate r. Bello, sa id that the state gove rnm ent wo uld soon s ign a two-year mai ntena nce and operational agreement with the contractor. Under the agreement, he sa id engineers a nd technicians in the ministry will be trained on how to operate a nd carry out regular ma intenance of the wa terworks.

ADP disburses N83m for food security programme in Cross River ~E

Agricultural 1 Development Programne (ADP) in Cross River says it disburs ed N83 million to farmers in the state under the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS). The Programme Manager, Bassey Otu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar o n Sunday that the mo ney was provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB). ON said that the money was disbursed to the beneticiaries through their cooperative societies. .. As at today, about N83 millio n has been disbursed to farmers in the state und er the NPFS by the AIDB whi ch funds the project. - -The fu nd is not handled by us; it is transferred directly to the farmers' coopera-

ti ves to di sburse same to their m embers acco rdi ng to their pr01'ect needs," he said. Otu exp ain ed that the duty of the ADP was to ensure that fund s given to farmers

"

were used for the purp oses they were m eant. The programme manager said that the funding of the program me was und er a tripartite a rrange m ent a mo ng the federal, state and local governments. Unaer the arrangement, he said that the state would pay N42.4 million as co un-. terpan funding, while the loca l councils wou ld contribute N32.4 million yearly. According to him, Cross Ri ve r has nine NPFS project sites, with th ree in each sen· atorial district. He said that the current phase of th e programme would end in 2013 and advised beneficiaries of the fund to make judicious use of it. - -ADP provides access roads, efectricity, pipeborne water and other ame niti es in the project areas to facili tate the movem ent of goods and services by the farmers," the program m e manager said.

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THE GUARDIAN,