Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefeile, TuesdayÂ disclosed Â that over N428 billion was expended on the importation of wheat and sorghum in 2015 alone.
Godwin said the huge bills on the importation of these products informed the decision of the apex bank to boost and sustain the local production of agricultural products such as rice, wheat, cassava fish and poultry, among others.
Speaking at the inauguration of sorghum milling plant at Northern Nigeria Flour Mills Company held in Kano, the CBN governor, who was represented the Deputy Governor, Corporate Service Directorate, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, disclosed that 513 projects across the country had been financed by Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS), saying that a total of 604 projects had equally been financed under Real Sector Refinancing Project.
He said these interventions were the outcome of the collaboration between the bank and the Presidential Task Force on Food Security, aimed at boosting agricultural production, employment and wealth creation.
According to him, CBN would continue to support any venture that would save the nation foreign exchange in which the Northern Nigerian Flour Mill Plc had demonstrated a strong commitment to pursue.
In her remarks,the Â Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, said Â the inauguration of the milling plant was unique in the sense that it would serve as a real boost in sourcing raw materials locally and would inadvertently have positive impacts on local farmers /out growers.
Abubakar also saidÂ the inauguration of the plant directly aligned with the vision of the administrationâ€™s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) designed to promote and sustain an inclusive growth in the implementation of Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan(NIRP).
She explained that the plan also focused on areas in which Nigeria has comparative advantage that would guarantee competiveness in the global market and increase manufacturing contribution to GDP in the next five years.
Abubakar said the plan, which was presently being implemented, would strategically unlock bottlenecks militating against the growth and development of the industrial sector adding that government was also reducing the encumbrances that were affecting industrial development.
The Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigerian (FMN), Mr. John Coumantaros, said in the coming planting season, FMN planned to engaged a network of out growers and contract farming arrangement to source over 30,000 metric tones of sorghum wile 10,000 farmers would also be engaged by the company.
The commissioned a sorghum milling plant estimated at the cost of N2 billion with the aim sourcing its raw materials locally.