This Day (Lagos)

26 January 2013

Nigeria: FG to Privatise Lower Anambra Irrigation Project

The Federal Government Friday pledged its commitment to revitalise the Lower Anambra irrigation project through a private sector initiative.

The 3,850 hectares irrigation land project established in 1981 is the biggest irrigation project in the southeast and mainly to facilitate the cropping rice in the country.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku pledged government's commitment when he led the National Good Governance Team to visit the project in Omor, Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state.

Maku stated that the government would re-energize the project for the production of food, through an engagement with the private sector. He expressed apprehension that the project if handled by government agencies would not achieve its desired goals. "If we revive this agricultural project now and hand it over to the government to run, I can be very sure that in another five years, we would come back and find the same problem," he said.

He added that successive governments were unable to deliver on agriculture because they were based on the ideology that government will run agriculture to produce rice and sell in the market, adding that it was the same reason why many government agencies failed.

"If it was private farmers that had this opportunity, I am sure that the project would never have failed. It has not failed in other countries, but because of our attitude, in the public service particularly, the same reason that railway failed, NITEL failed, Nigeria airways and several other agencies, because government and public service was unable to run them, we have again another example of how our investments went down the drain," he said.

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