From Yakubu Mustapha Minna
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a stronger government partnership with the private sector to boost the nation’s economic diversification programme.
This is just as he inaugurated the N50 billion Sunti Golden Sugar Estate, in Mokwa, Niger state yesterday.
President Buhari while addressing guest during the commissioning ceremony, called on private investors in the country to partner with the government in creating investment and job opportunities for the citizens.
He explained that the coming of the sugar factory is timely as Nigeria has made her way out of recession and “we have showed considerable progress.”
“We are looking inward to our natural endowment and deposit. We are focusing on agriculture and other non oil sectors.
“The mill as I was told cost the company N50 billion, and it’s expected to produce 100,000 metric tons of sugar yearly.
“It will provide direct employment for about 10,000 people yearly, and impact up to 50,000 people indirectly, including 3,000 small-scale out growers.
“I commend the company for creating job opportunities for Nigerians,” President Buhari said
“The Flour Mill has shown commitment to Nigeria all through the good times and bad times,” he stated.
He further emphasized on the benefits and economic possibilities of the River Niger, saying “it has been long overlooked, it is time to explore and harness the benefits for commerce and investment.
Buhari reassured Nigerians that his administration was committed to the transformation and diversification of the economy adding that they will continue to support businesses and investors by creating enabling business environment.
In same vein, the Governor of Niger state, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello said the agricultural sector is getting the needed attention it requires to generate employment and accelerated income growth.
He also called on investors to visit Niger state, saying that the lands are under-cultivated and need more companies to partner with the state.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria, John Coumantaros, said that the estate would set the country on the path to become self-sufficient in sugar production.
“The sugar estate would feature 17,000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a sugar mill that processes 4,500 metric tons of sugar cane per day.
“At full capacity, the estate is expected to produce one million tonnes of sugar cane which roughly translates into 100,000 metric tons of sugar annually.” he said.