The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi has reassured foreign direct investors of cooperation and support towards self-sufficiency in local production of essential goods as country continue to drive towards economic diversification.
A statement yesterday quoted Emefiele to have said this while speaking during the facility tour of the new completed Sunti Golden Sugar factory in Sunti, Niger State at the weekend.
The CBN governor noted that the Bank had invested about N26 billion in the project of such magnitude in order to encourage import substitution and backward integration strategy.
According to him, such investments are geared towards self-sufficiency, generate employment and create of wealth. He therefore urged smallholder sugar cane farmers in the area to leverage on the presence of the factory to boost production, as the company would now buy all their produce.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Flour Mill of Nigeria Group, owners of Sunti Golden Sugar Company, Mr. John Coumantaros, expressed appreciation for the uncommon support, which the CBN gave the company, saying without it the project wouldn’t have been completed on schedule.
The chairman noted that the N45 billion sugar-refining project was expected to create over 15,000 jobs including 3,500 direct jobs, 3,000 small scale out-grower farmers and save over $50 million in foreign exchange for the country annually.
Coumantaros further stated that Nigeria presently produce 1.7 million metric tons of raw sugar, which is just about two per cent of her needs whereas, countries like Benin Republic, Senegal and Mali currently produce 26 per cent, 48 per cent and 28 per cent of their local sugar needs. As such, he said the planned 100,000 metric tons of raw sugar to be produced by Sunti Golden Sugar Company would augment the supply gap, create jobs and save foreign exchange for the country. This is in addition to generation of 10 megawatts of electricity, animal feeds and fertiliser from the sugar cane residue.
In his remarks at the event, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, commended the management of CBN for providing the much needed fund for the projects and the Nigeria Flour Mills for working hard to fulfill its obligations to the host community by providing access roads, boreholes, electricity and health facility in addition to the engagement of over 800 construction workers mostly from the host communities. He urged the company to train the staff to be skilled for future expansion.
He promised to work assiduously to make Niger State contribute towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in food production and become an exporting nation.