President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated N50 billion Golden Sugar Estate in Sunti, Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State.
The project is a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria, a backward integration programme with 17, 000 hectares of land to refine sugar locally.
Speaking on the project, the president described the project as timely, in view of the appreciable growth of the nation’s economy after it exited recession.
According to him the sugar refinery was a clear demonstration that policies of the present administration on economy diversification were on the right track.
His words: “I want to commend the company for expanding the business and creating more jobs for our youths.
“The project built at N50 billion makes it one of the major agro-allied investments in Nigeria,’’ he said.
“The project would improve the lives of indigenes of the area and I call on investors to key into similar investments for the progress of the country.”
He said his administration is commitment to the diversification of the nation’s economy, saying that his government would continue to support investors by providing enabling business environment.
He reassured that his administration would continue to focus on the improvement of security and critical infrastructure development such as construction of roads, rail lines and power generation.
He however called on the management of the company to develop the Sunti/road as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Speaking earlier, Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria, John Coumantaros, said that the company would produce 100,000 metric tons of sugar per annum, as well as give direct employment to 10,000 people in addition to network of 3,000 small scale industries.
He said the company had installed the latest technology in the cane milling and processing with an expandable capacity of 4,500 tons per day.
He further noted that out of the 17,000 hectares of plantation, 3,000 had been cultivated and ready for harvesting.
He also applauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the host community for creating an enabling environment for the company to operate.
Also speaking, Governor Abubakar Bello said the state government had set aside 2,000 hectares of land for mechanised farming in Tegina, Kuta, Nasko and Bida under its agricultural development scheme to boost food production.
He said that the project would be upgraded to train youths in modern farming techniques, beside the resuscitation of irrigation schemes and rehabilitation of 15 agricultural equipment centres across the state.
He added that the state government is also supporting farmers through timely supply of fertilizer and farm implements.
He however urged federal government to ensure completion of Minna-Suleja road, Tegina-Kontagora-Rijau and Mokwa-Jebba to make the state attractive to more investors.