President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria’s economy has made “considerable progress” on its journey out of recession. The president said this on Thursday while commissioning a sugarcane farm in Mokwa, Niger State.
The farm, owned by Sunti Golden Sugar Estates (SGSE) Limited, a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, plans to produce one million tonnes of sugarcane or 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar yearly at full capacity.
Mr. Buhari said the project is a clear demonstration that the policies of his administration on economic diversification are on the right path.
“This project could not have come at a better time. As Nigeria makes her journey out of recession and the economy continues to show considerable progress, we are reminded of one of the cardinal objectives of this administration, which is to look inwards as we focus on our natural endowments in agriculture and other non-oil sectors for inclusive growth and development.
“The level of work and magnitude of investment that we are witnessing here today is a clear demonstration that our policies on economic diversification are on the right path,” he said.
Praising the efforts of the owners, the president said the project will reposition Nigeria as a leading player in the global food market.
“I trust that you will agree with me that Flour Mills of Nigeria, has an unmistakable footprint in the history of our Nation. Since her establishment in 1960, Flour Mills and their Golden Penny food brand have become household names, bringing good food and nourishment to millions of Nigerian families.
“For over 57 years, the company has repeatedly shown her unwavering commitment to doing business in Nigeria and contributing to the socio-economic development of our dear country.
“The Sunti Golden Sugar Estate as I am told was built at a cost of over fifty billion naira, making it one of the largest Agro-allied investments in Nigeria, today, with a capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons of sugar annually.
“While we have had some challenges in the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) in the past, I believe that our vision of attaining self-sufficiency in sugar in Nigeria is well within sight with the kind of investment that has been made here.
“I am told that the Estate will engage up to 10,000 people directly once developed, including a network of over 3,000 small-scale out growers of Sugarcane. This to my mind is central to this administration’s determination to create jobs and gainfully engage our people.
“I am happy to mention also, that projects like the Sunti Sugar Estate are in tandem with the vision and objectives that we set out to achieve when this administration instituted the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“While, our focus is steadfast on delivering on our policy goals of tackling corruption, improving security and rebuilding the economy; more than ever, Government will work in close partnership with businesses to strengthen investments in Agriculture, Power, Manufacturing, Solid Minerals, and the Service sectors.”
Speaking on the location, Buhari said the Niger River Basin has played an essential role in the lives of the people
The sugar estate is located on the banks of River Niger, in Mokwa, Niger State.
It reportedly has 17, 000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a sugar mill that process 4,500 metric tons of sugarcane per day, considered as the company’s biggest agricultural investment in Nigeria.