The Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved the augmentation and variation for Tada Shonga Irrigation Project in Kwara State, raising the total cost to N10.18bn.

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhamadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Minister said the abandoned project which started in 2010, had the completion period of 36 months.

He said the ministry of agriculture made it a priority project because of its huge potential for irrigation, especially for rice production, adding that the variation had increased the size of the project from 1500 hectares to 2,200 hectares of irrigation.

He said the variation also included a two-megawatt solar power plant to replace the diesel power plant that was in the original design because diesel is expensive, stressing that irrigation system will be unsustainable with diesel.

According to him, “So, for that purpose, we sought for the augmentation and variation in the sum of N6.9 billion, raising the project from the original sum of N3.263 billion to N10.18 billion.

“Council was gracious enough to approve this project because of the huge potentials that it has for the food security policy and our desire to make agriculture a focal instrument of our economy.

“This project is located in the Niger River Basin. Between the Rivers Niger and Benue Basins, we have potentials for about 1.8 million hectares for irrigation and we’ve been trying to encourage the private sector to also join us in developing these huge areas with great potentials for agriculture and this is one step forward towards developing the irrigation potentials of that Basin. ”

Also briefing, the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu said that FEC approved N4.8 billion being augmentation for the Benin-Adumagbae-Igba-Akure road in Edo and Ondo State.

He said, “We presented a memo to the Council today; which is an augmentation of an ongoing project; it is a road project from Benin-Adumagbae-Igba-Akure Road in Edo and Ondo States.

“The contract was awarded in Dec. 2013, meaning we have inherited the project and as you all know, it is the decision of President Buhari to continue and complete all ongoing projects.’’

Aliyu said that the project was stopped for some time due to a lack of funding.

According to him, the contract has to be reviewed as the contractor is going back to work.

“We have reviewed the contract from the original sum of N3.3 billion inclusive of VAT and tax, an increase of about N1.48 billion.

“It was further reviewed down through the processes of going to BPP to the total sum of N4.8 billion,’’ he said.