The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to partner private investors in the sugar industry in a bid to accelerate the nation’s economic growth.
Adebayo made the commitment on Thursday at the inauguration of the multi-billion naira Nigeria Sugar Institute located in Jimba-Oja town in Ifelodun Local Government Council Area of Kwara.
He said that the investment already made by the Federal Government and the private sector into the sugar industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs in agriculture and the manufacturing sectors.
“The government, therefore, recognises the need to deepen its partnership with the private sector to drive access to skills’ development, research and development.
”This should be done in a manner that promotes competition, productivity, profitability and sustainability in the sugar industry,” he said.
The minister, who commended the Kwara Government and other stakeholders in the partnership for the support given to the ministry in actualising the project, pledged to meet the expectations of the country in sugar development through a sugar master plan.
Also, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Sugar Institute (NSI), Dr. Latif Busari, said that among the objectives of the institute is how to develop human resources to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the Nigeria Sugar Industry.
Busari said that the institute would ensure adequate capacity building and sustainability of the sugar industry.
He added that it would undertake regular refresher technical and management courses for the staff of sugar companies as well as fresh graduates desiring to make a career in the sugar industry.
“Another objective of the NSI is also to conduct cutting edge research and development programmes that will underpin and serve as a catalyst in the development of the sugar industry.
”We also seek to tap into 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.
In his remark, Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara, pledged the continued provision of conducive environment for industrial growth in the state.
He said that this would be done in partnership with both the Federal Government and the private sector in the country, for the benefit of the residents of the state.
The governor said that the state had the potential of providing enough sugarcane for sugar industries in the country and in West Africa.
He also said that the state had favourable soil and climate for cultivation and production of agricultural produce in the state.
Also, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, said that the project was capable of developing Nigeria in line with the Federal Government’s aspiration of creating more capability and potentiality 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 youth restiveness in our society” , he said.
The traditional ruler commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing quality leadership.
He said it had 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 relations between Nigeria and India has been strengthened further by this project with advanced technologies and innovations.
”I am aware that this new project will generate more than 400 megawatts of electricity and also produce more than 160 million litres of ethanol,” Sulu-Gambari said.