The Federal Government of Nigeria is presently seeking a loan of $1.2bn from Brazil to finance agricultural programmes in the 2021 budget and has transmitted a request for approval to the National Assembly.

This was revealed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja on Tuesday to defend the budget proposed by her ministry.

According to the Minister, the Federal Government would acquire 100,000 hectares of land in each state for food production. She also added that that link roads would be built in such locations to provide access for farmers to move farm produce to markets in order to reduce post-harvest losses.

Responding to the question of the Chairman of the committee, Mr. James Faleke about the diversification of the economy, Ahmed said, “For borrowing to improve industry, we are before the parliament. I request for the approval for loan that we call the Green Imperative Programme which is for loan of $1.2bn from the Brazilian government.”

According to her, the programme is addressing the whole of agricultural value chain from mechanization, production, processing and selling. It is also meant to lend to businessmen for tractors, plants at all levels.

While giving updates on the 2020 budget implementation from January to September, the Minister said, “As of the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020, FGN’s revenue available for budget funding was N2.83tn, 70 per cent of target.

She also affirmed that FGN share of oil revenues was N2.1tn (representing 158 per cent performance, over and above the prorated sum in the revised 2020 budget) while non-oil tax revenues summed up to N927.47bn, representing 76 per cent of revised target.