The Plateau Government is collaborating with CONTEC Global Ltd. to establish a cassava bio-fuel plant in the southern zone of the state.
Gov. Simon Lalong, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the company on Tuesday in Jos, said that the partnership would open a new frontier in driving the state economy.
Lalong, who was represented by the Secretary to State Government, Prof. Danladi Atu, described the partnership as apt.
‘This is apt at this crucial moment where states need to look inward for sustainability and growing the economy.
“Government cannot grow the economy alone; therefore, the partnership becomes pertinent.
“We are happy for the confidence you have in us and as a government, we will keep faith with the terms of the MoU,” he said.
Lalong expressed the hope that the company would take due advantage of the state government’s economic policy to diversify into other areas.
He urged the people of the state to think outside the box and diversify, saying that the time to rely on federal allocations was over.
He said that God had blessed the state with a lot of resources, both human and material, waiting to be explored and utilised.
Dr Sashi Mozumder, Project Manager, CONTEC Global Ltd., said that the MoU was the first of its kind between a state government and the group.
Mozumder, who signed the MoU on behalf of his company, stated that the company was partnering with Plateau because the state was well-known for the production of cassava, especially in its southern part.
“We believe this would boost the state’s industrialisation because of the activities involved in this integrated project.
“It will not just produce cassava-based fuel, it will also produce some products such as animal feeds, bio-fertiliser, bio-gas and it will facilitate recovery of Carbon dioxide (Co2) as dry ice.
“Apart from its benefits to farmers, the project will generate employment, as many youths will be involved in the processes of production, transportation and distribution.
“More than 3,000 people will be engaged directly and because of the multiplier effects of the project; it will also give a lot of opportunities to many other people indirectly.
“The activities would involve educated and semi-educated people as well as people in the rural communities,” he said.
The project manager said that CONTEC would generate electricity for the plant, adding that the electricity would also be available for the community.
He also said that the plant would need a lot of water, adding that the water would also be made available for the community’s use.
“The project has been envisioned with equity funding, with CONTEC Global providing 51 per cent as a majority shareholder.
“The state will also provide some equity money and we will also borrow money from commercial bank, with a repayment period of 10 to 15 years.
“The ownership of the company will be based on the amount of money that is contributed by a partner and the revenue will be shared as such,” he said.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Abe Aku, who signed the MoU on behalf of the Plateau government, said that the initiative was part of the strategic economic policy of the state government.
“We believe that this project will take the youth off the streets and as stated earlier, more than 300 youths will be engaged.
“The fundamental thing is that we are looking inward to generate revenue because of the global economic crisis that affected the price of oil.
“By and large, the state is not spending much; it is going to buy shares in the company,” Aku said.