Gyang Bere, Jos
The Plateau State Government has tackled the former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, over allegations that Governor Simon Lalong took a $350 million loan from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) for the development of Plateau’s potato value chain, with the claim that the project is not visible in the State.
The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Hon Dan Manjang, refuted the claims and said the funds were used judiciously for the purpose they were meant for.
Dalung raised the allegations while speaking at a webinar discussion and claimed that: ‘Plateau State Government took a loan worth $ 350 million (N140 billion) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) payable over a 25 years period, for the development of Plateau’s potato value chain.’
He claimed that as a serving minister at the time, he was a member of the Federal Executive Council and took part in that approval – but to date, no single value chain infrastructure development of potato can been or verified.
‘As at today, the Potato Value Chain Project has completed many projects while others are on-going. Some of the projects include 9 Community Markets (Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Bokkos, Jos East, Jos North, Jos South, Mangu, Riyom and Pankshin.
‘6 Community Markets have been completed and handed over to the Local Governments and Communities. 3 Community Markets and Diffuse Light Stores are awaiting handing over. 9 Diffuse Light Stores, 2 Processing Centres, 200km Spot Road Improvement across the 17 LGAs of the State, 17 Spring Captures and 26 Water Harvesting Structures for expansion of Dry Season Irrigation farming in Plateau State.’
Manjang said the loan signed between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Federal Ministry of Finance for the benefit of Plateau State is USD 11.2Million and not USD 350Million as claimed by Dalung.
‘Of this loan, 70% is being committed to Infrastructure, 20% for Capacity Building and 10% for Project Management. While he painted a picture as though the money was approved and given to Plateau State Government in cash, the fact is that the disbursement of the loan to Contractors and Consultants is paid directly by the AfDB under strict guidelines that are set by the bank.’