By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
President Muhammadu Buhari has applauded the decisive roles of private sector players in the rejuvenation of Nigeria’s economy saying Nigeria, like any other developing ecoonomy, requires massive injection of capital resources from investors as engine drivers for development.
He spoke Thursday at Mokwa, where he inaugurated the N50 billion Sunti Golden Sugar Company and Housing Estate in Sunti area of Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger state. The company is a private sector investment in sugar production.
The President solicited for more of such private sector partnership through investments that would generate opportunities for empowerment and job creation to hordes of unemployed persons in the country.
President Buhari acknowledged that it had become obvious that no government could address the needs of all it’s citizens in all spheres without the involvement, support and pivotal cobtributions of private investors who he noted have the wherewithal to spin the wheels of economic fortunes through business entrepreneural management.
He said birth of the Sunti Golden Sugar factory in Mokwa was timely as Nigeria has made impressive progress out of economic recession in a record time. He said ”Nigeria’s economy has in the last two years gone through a lot stress but with painstaking management, it has made considerable and appreciable progress.
President Buhari said his administration would not relent on it’s avowed resilience to turn around the country’s economy adding that ”we are looking inward to rejuvenate the country’s economy by exploring our natural resource endowments”.
He said the era of relying on crude oil as the main fulcrum of Nigeria’s economy was far gone. “We are focusing on agriculture and other non oil sectors to drive our economy to sufficiency.
The N50 billion sugar company is expected to produce 100,000 metric tonnes of refined sugar annually. It will provide direct employment for about 10,000 people while another 50,000 people are to be engaged indirectly. Three thousand (3,000) small scale out growers are expected to grow canes to feed the sugar refinery.
He commended the Nigerian Flour Mills, the owners of the company for creating job opportunities for Nigerians. He said the company and similar investors have faith in the Nigerian economy and have shown commitments in partnering with Nigeria through thick and thin by supporting the rebuilding of the Nigerian economy.
Niger state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello had earlier said his administration was giving the agricultural sector in the state the needed impetus by using the sector to generate employment opportunities and accelerated income growth and development.
The Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria, John Coumantaros said in his remarks that the company was determined to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
He said the Sunti Golden Sugar would lead in Nigeria’s quest for self sufficiency in sugar production for both local markets and for export to neighbouring West African countries.
John Coumantaros disclosed that the sugar estate would utilise about 17,000 hectares of irrigable farmland and has a mill that would processes 4,500 metric tonness of sugarcane per day.
“At full capacity, the estate is expected to produce one million tonnes of sugar cane that can roughly translate into 100,000 metric tons of sugar yearly” he explained adding that the establishment of the project would reduce Nigeria’s import of sugar and save money in foreign exchange.
President Muhammadu Buhari was accompanied on the visit to inaugurate the Sunti Golden Sugar Company by dignitaries including the Governor of Kebbi state, Abubarkar Atiku Bagudu, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Minister of Trade and Investments, Chijioke Enelama and the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Rasheed Adejare Olaoluwa.