By Hammed Shittu
Minister of Industry, Trade Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, has reiterated commitment of the federal government to partner with private and public investors in the sugar industry to accelerate the nation’s economic growth.
Speaking at the official commissioning of the multi-billion Naira Nigeria Sugar Institute located in Jimba-Oja town in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State on Thursday, Chief Adebayo said the investment already made by the federal government and the private sector in the sugar industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
He said, “The government therefore recognises the need to deepen the partnership with the private sector to drive access to skills development, research and development in a manner that promotes competition, productivity, profitability and sustainability in the sugar industry.”
The minister added that the present administration value the cooperation of private investors, especially in sugar development which, according to him, has set a pace in the bid to boost research and development and also to create Jobs for the nation’s youths.
Adebayo, who commended the Kwara State government and other stakeholders in the partnership for the support given to the ministry in actualising the project, pledged to meet expectations of the country in sugar development through the sugar master plan.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Sugar Institute (NSI), Dr. Latif Busari said among objectives, the institute was to develop human resource to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the Nigeria sugarcane industry.
Busari said the institute would ensure adequate capacity building and sustainability in the sugar industry, adding that it would undertake regular refresher technical and management courses for staff of sugar companies, as well as fresh graduates desiring to make a career in the sugar industry.
“The objective of the NSI is also to conduct cutting-edge research and development programmes that will underpin and catalyse the development of sugar industry; to tap new technologies and innovative approaches as they emerge for the benefit of the industry; and to do all such other things as may be considered incidental or conducive to the overall development of the sugar industry,” he said.
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq pledged continued provision of conducive environment for industrial growth, in partnership with both the federal government and the private sector in the country, for the benefit of residents of the state.
The governor, who said that the state has potential of providing enough sugarcane for sugar industries in the country and West Africa at large, said the state has favourable soil and climate for its cultivation and production.
The Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari said the project is capable of developing Nigeria in line with the federal government’s aspiration of creating more capacity in the sugar industry for rapid economic growth.
“This is a mission well-accomplished because it will further boost industrialisation and investment in sugar production, as well as create platforms for job creation and eradication of youths restiveness in our society,” he said.
The traditional ruler used the event to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for providing quality leadership, which has led to the actualisation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the National Sugar Institute (NSI) of India and the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) of Nigeria, recently.
“The age-long harmonious diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and India has further been fulfilled by this project with advanced technologies and innovations. I am aware that this new project would generate more than 400 mega-watts of electricity and also produce more than 160 million litres of ethanol.”