Nigeria's central state of Niger and the Chinese government on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the establishment of an Ethanol plant in the state.
At the signing ceremony held in the state capital Minna, Secretary to the Niger State Government Adams Erena said the project "will gulp 11.6 billion naira (about 90 million U.S. dollars)."
He said a Chinese company would serve as a consultant to the project, adding that the company was expected to source 85 percent of the project investment through a soft loan from the Chinese government on 3 percent interest rate.
He explained that the balance of 15 percent would be sourced by the state government from local banks.
The state government, he added, had already released 30 million naira (about 232,600 dollars) to local cassava farmers to facilitate mass production of the commodity in the state.
When completed, he said, the project would have the capacity of converting 150,000 tons of cassava into fuel energy.
He added that the fuel energy would be sold at cheaper rate for both local consumption and exports as ethanol would be cheaper than petroleum products.
Wang Qingxin, managing director of the Chinese company, assured his Nigerian partner that the project would be completed within two years.
He said the signing of the agreement "marked the beginning of more economic relationship between the Chinese and Nigerian governments, noting that the project would benefit the peoples of both China and Nigeria."