BY ANDREW IKEHI
The economic transformation agenda and “Delta Beyond Oil” of the Delta State Government is set to record additional boost as the state government has opened discussions with a United States based firm, Global Select Investment Group Limited, for the establishment of a 300 tons daily Cassava Processing Plant in the state.
The talk, The POINTER learnt, when consummated, would result in a partnership deal involving the state government, Global Select Investment Group Limited and Zenith Bank Plc.
The partnership deal which is expected to be sealed in the next few weeks after some grey areas in the proposal have been fine-tuned, would see the establishment of the plant estimated at $160 million with a capacity to create 20,000 jobs for youths in the state.
Briefing some members of the State Executive Council during a crucial meeting held at the office of the Commissioner For Agriculture and Natural Resources, Misan Ukubeyinje, the Project Director of the firm, Jack Williams said as part of the partnership deal, the company provides the technical expertise, the bank provides the finance, while the State Government would provide the land, security and thus; guarantee the fund that would be provided.
According to him, the plant which would be constructed in phases is intended for the production of Pellets, Flour, Starch, Fructose, Garri and Chips.
He gave the key features of the proposed plant to include; State of the art integrating Technology, Cold Storage Facility that can preserve cassava for 60 days as well as to build green facility-treated water, recycling of waste as organic fertilizer and bio-diesel.
Other features according to him include; organic worm farm using all waste from facility to produce tons of fertilizer for farmers, co-operative strategy to ensure programming of farmers, training on best practices, and sales of seedlings.
In his response, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barr. Missan Ukubeyinje assured the company that the State Government, as part of its drive to industrialize the State is prepared to partner with it, adding that the state is one of the highest producers of Cassava in the country.
Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Barrister Newworld Safugha, said considering the importance of the project in enhancing the state Government’s determination for job creation, provision of land and other local assistance would be guaranteed.
Speaking in an interview with journalists shortly after the meeting, the Economic Adviser to the State Governor, Ogbueshi Afam Obiago said the partnership deal which he expressed the hope would be consummated soon, would add credence to the state government’s economic development drive.
The POINTER reports that Mr. Felix Egweke, Branch Manager, Zenith Bank PLC, Ezenei, represented the bank.