President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N24 billion for the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) for the execution of its smart modular irrigation project.
NASENI’s executive vice-chair/CEO, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja Friday.
Haruna, who revealed that he was at the Villa to show the financial details of the agency’s operation to the President, said the modular irrigation project would enhance the country’s agricultural development.
According to him, it will also enable farmers to produce crops three times round the year and that the President needed to be updated on the way the agency was being run.
“It’s not for anything suspicion but we have been asking for funding and more funding, then you want to know the status of what is happening so far. For example, I have said to you, the one per cent of the Federation Account due to NASENI, we received only the federal government component of it, instead of one per cent before it’s shared to the states and others that benefit from this.
“Last week, the President approved N24 billion for smart irrigation system, on request by NASENI. So, it is his thought if our money is remitted, why asking for further funding. Just to clarify the situation, not because of any other thing, but to know the status. And, of course, to give him exactly, as the chairman of the Board of NASENI, he should know to the last Kobo what we do have, what don’t we have, to guide his decisions on matters,” he said.
On what the new funding approval was all about, he said, “It is for the modular irrigation system. We have acquired a 10-hectare farmland on lease in Adamawa state, using water from River Benue, where this pilot scheme is starting. It is estimated that based on the technologies to be used there, it is possible to have three multi-crop seasons in a year, commencing from October this year, God- willing.
“The monies are for the pumps, the structure, the farming techniques, the farmers, the officers, the offices that are needed, the vehicles, and the administrative management, up to the period that we will have this demonstration farm, using modular irrigation system first model; first model in the sense that this one we’re drawing water from River Benue, of course, solar- powered.”
Explaining the funding of the agency, he said the statutory one per cent of the Federation Account meant to be drawn for its running is dedicated to the execution of some priority projects that had been approved by the government.
“The application of these funds is in some priority projects approved by the government. The capital components include payment of 15% of the local counterpart funding for three key projects in the power sector; the development and production of solar cells locally; development and production of electric power transformers and the third one is high voltage testing laboratory.”