The Plateau State Government is partnering with CONTEC Global Ltd. to establish a cassava bio-fuel plant in the southern zone of the state.
Gov. Simon Lalong said at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the company on Tuesday, Decemeber 22, 2020 in Jos, the state capital, 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 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.
He hoped that the company would take advantage of the conducive policy of government to diversify the economy into other areas.
The governor urged Plateau citizens to think outside the box and diversify pointing out that the time to rely on federal allocation was over.
According to him, God blessed the state with a lot of resources; 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 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 feed, bio-fertiliser, bio-gas and it will facilitate recovery of carbon dioxide (Co2) as dry ice.
“Apart from farmers, it would generate employment as youths would be involved in the processes of production, transportation and distribution.
“About 3000 people will be engaged directly and because of the multiplier effect, it will give a lot of opportunities to many other people indirectly.
“The activities would require educated, semi educated and people in the rural communities,” he stated.
According to the project manager, CONTEC will generate electricity for the plant which will also be available for the community.
He also said that the plant would need a lot of water and that the water would also be made available for the community’s use.
“The project has been envisioned with equity funding with CONTEC Global giving 51 per cent as a majority shareholder.
“The state will also put some equity money and we also borrow from commercial bank and pay for period of 10 to 15 years.
“The ownership of the company will be based on the amount of money that will be contributed by a partner and the revenue will be shared as such,” he said.
The State 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 a strategic economic policy of the state government.
“We believe that this 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.
By Peter Amine