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Plateau Govt accuses former Youths and Sports Minister of “malicious allegations”

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Barr Solomon Dalung

The Plateau state government says its attention has been drawn to yet another round of wild and malicious allegations made by former Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, while speaking at a webinar discussion convened by ViewPoint Nigeria Group on Thursday, 24th September, 2020.

While reacting to the allegation in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Hon. Dan Majang, it debunked the allegation, saying, “The loan amount signed between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Federal Ministry of Finance was USD 11.2 million and not USD 350 million” as claimed by Dalung.

According to the statement, 70 percent of the loan was being committed to Infrastructure, 20 percent for Capacity Building and 10 percent 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.

“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,” it stated.

According to Hon. Majang, “This is done through the Potato Value Chain Management Project Office, which is not a parastatal or agency of the State Government, but operated under the supervision of the AfDB just like Fadama Project, among others.

“Initially, the project covered only 10 out of the 17 LGAs, based on the area of coverage of completed Fadama II Project in the state.

“However, the governor demonstrated his passion for the progress of the programme and made a case for inclusion of the 7 other LGAs to benefit from the infrastructure component of the project during the appraisal mission, which was accepted by the bank,” Majang stated.

The information commissioner equally noted that, “The whole 17 LGAs are, today, beneficiaries of the project. In addition, the governor mandated the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to carry out research on the possibility of growing the crop in all the local governments of the state, which the research returned positive and, today, potatoes can be grown in the entire state.

“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, Pankshin). Six Community Markets have been completed and handed over to the local governments and communities, among others,” he said.

It could be recalled that, Barr. Solomon Dalung alleged that the 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 said he was serving minister at the time, and 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 in the state for that purpose.

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