Tuesday, April 19, 2016 8:45AM/ CBN
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has again assured genuine investors in Nigeria of the Bank’s cooperation and intervention towards self-sufficiency in local production of essential goods and the economic diversification drive.
Mr. Emefiele made the pledge during the facility tour of the newly completed Sunti Golden Sugar factory in Sunti, Niger State, on April 8, 2016, noting that the Bank had made interventions valued at about N26 billion in the project of such magnitude in order to encourage import substitution and backward integration strategy.
According to the CBN Governor, such investments were geared towards self-sufficiency, generation of employment and the creation 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 profound appreciation for the uncommon support, which the CBN been given to company without which he said the project would not have been completed on schedule.
The chairman noted that “the N45 billion sugar-refining project is 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”.
Mr. Coumantaros further stated that Nigeria presently produces 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, respectively of their local sugar needs.
As such, the planned one hundred thousand 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 fertilizer from the sugar cane residue.
In his remarks the event, the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello commended the management of the 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 also assured that Niger State would work assiduously to contribute towards making Nigeria self-sufficient in food production and become an exporting nation. In his remarks, the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills PLC, Paul Gbedebo gave an assurance that farmers in Niger State, in particular, would no longer encounter the problem of searching for markets for their produce as the company would buy off everything, going forward.
Present at the ceremony included traditional rulers led by the District Head of Muregi Alhaji Ibrahim Yahaya Muregi who represented the Etsu Nupe; Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe; Director, Development Finance, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan; and Niger State Commissioners. The project is expected to be formally inaugurated in May 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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