The Plateau State government has denied receiving an agricultural loan of $359million from African Development Bank (ADBA).
The state government said the agricultural loan it signed with ADBA for the development of potato value chain was to the tune of $11million and not the bogus figure being bandied by a former Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung.
The state government was reacting to an allegation by former minister, that the Governor Lalong administration got a loan of $350million from the bank and squandered it without achieving the set objective of the loan.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang while reacting on behalf of the government said, “The attention of the Plateau State Government has been drawn to yet another round of wild and malicious allegations made by the former Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung while speaking at a webinar discussion convened by ViewPointNigeria Group on Thursday 24th September, 2020.”
Government took a loan worth $ 350 million (N140 billion) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) payable over a 25-year 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 verified.
“Even though it is a fact that Plateau State benefited from loan facility from the African Development Bank, it is rather sad that someone who claims to have been part of the approval of the facility does not know the amount of the loan. This has aptly put a lie to his desperate attempt to take glory for the transaction that he knows little to nothing about.”
Manjang said it is on record that Dalung, as a then Minister “supposedly” representing Plateau State in the Federal Cabinet tried unsuccessfully to oppose the loan memo presented by the then Minister of Finance during the FEC Meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He said, “Contrary to the bogus and imaginary figures quoted by the former minister, the Loan amount 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. ”
Manjang said “the disbursement of the loan to Contractors and Consultants is paid directly by the AfDB under strict guidelines that are set by the bank. This is done gradually under the terms of the agreement and not lump sum as he would want the people to believe. If he wanted to be truthful, he knows that no single kobo is managed by the State Government.”
Manjang also pointed out that the project was to initially cover 10 local governments but was extended by the governor to other seven states.