President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called on private investors in the country to partner with the government in creating investment opportunities.
Buhari made this call while commissioning the N50 billion Sunti Golden Sugar Estate in Mokwa, Niger State.
President Buhari also reiterated the benefits and economic possibilities of the River Niger, saying: “It has been long overlooked; it is time explore and harness the benefits for commerce and investment.”
While calling on both foreign and local investors to take advantage of the agricultural potentials, President Buhari said: “The coming of the sugar factory is timely. Nigeria has made her way out of recession and we have shown 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.”
While commending the company for creating job opportunities for Nigerians, President Buhari said: “Flour Mill Nigeria has shown commitment to Nigeria all through the good times and bad times.”
He however assured Nigerians that his administration will continue to create the enabling business environment and improve security and infrastructure across the nation.
In his address, the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, said the agricultural sector is getting the needed attention it requires to generate employment and accelerated income growth.
While calling on investors to visit Niger State, Bello said the lands are under-cultivated and needed more companies to partner with the state.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria, John Coumantaros, said the estate would set the country on the path to become self-sufficient in sugar production.
According to Coumantaros: “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 yearly.”
Coumantaros further said the establishment of the project would reduce sugar importation into the country as well as save money in foreign exchange.
He said: “It will also boost local capacity and reduce unemployment by putting thousands of Nigerians to work.”