President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday opened the N50bn Sunti Golden Sugar Estate in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State.
Addressing guests at the inauguration, Buhari called on private investors in the country to partner with the government in creating investment opportunities.
He said the coming of the sugar factory was timely, as Nigeria has made her way out of recession and “we have showed considerable progress.”
He said, “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 N50bn, 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, the President said, “Flour Mills has shown commitment to Nigeria all through the good times and bad times.”
Buhari also reiterated the benefits and economic possibilities of the River Niger, saying, “It has been long overlooked; it is time to explore and harness the benefits for commerce and investment.”
He assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to create enabling business environment and improve security and infrastructure across the nation.
Earlier, the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, said the agriculture sector was getting the needed attention it requires to generate employment and accelerated income growth.
While calling on investors to visit Niger State, he said the lands were under-cultivated and needed more companies to partner with the state.
The Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria, John Coumantaros, in his remarks, said the estate would set the country on the path to become self-sufficient in sugar production.
Coumantaros said, “The sugar estate would feature 17,000 hectares of irrigable farmland and a sugar mill that processes 4,500 metric tons of sugarcane per day.
“At full capacity, the estate is expected to produce one million tonnes of sugarcane, which roughly translates into 100,000 metric tons of sugar yearly.”