The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made the disclosure at the inauguration of the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates, in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger State, reiterated that the sector’s potential in supporting growth of the country on a sustainable basis.
According to him, the N25 billion was facilitated through a consortium of banks at a single digit interest rate repayable in a period of 10 years
He said any individual or company that wants to go into agricultural and agro-allied productions should count on the support of the bank.
Emefiele expressed satisfaction on the level of work done by the company, saying it is in tune with the present administration’s notion that Nigerians should produce what they eat and eat what you produce.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the inauguration, said the sugar factory project is timely as the country makes giant strides out of recession and the economy continues to show considerable progress.
He said that one of the cardinal objectives of his administration is to look inward and focus on the country’s natural endowments, particularly the non-oil sector, for inclusive growth and developments.
Buhari noted that the level of work and magnitude of investment that is been witnessed is a clear demonstration that his administration’s policies on economic diversification are attracting the right kind of support and engagement.
The Chairman of the Flour Mills of Nigeria, owners of the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates, John Coumantaros, said the sugar factory is a strategic investment designed to accelerate the production of sugar in Nigeria.
He added that the factory, which saved the country about $100 million in foreign exchange yearly, is aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in the production of sugar for the nation.
Coumantaros, who commended the CBN and its Governor for the support in making the sugar estate a reality, said the era of Nigeria solely depending on crude oil for foreign exchange is over with the inauguration of the largest sugar factory, which is poised to overhaul the entire agriculture sector in the country.
Sunti Golden Sugar Estates comprises 17,000 hectares of arable farmland and a sugar mill that processes 45,000 tonnes of sugar per day.
At its peak, it will provide direct employment for about 10,000 people yearly and impact up to 50,000 others indirectly, including 3,000 small scale out-growers, who will be cultivating sugarcane to feed the mill.
The Estate, at full capacity, is expected to produce one million-tonne sugar, which translates into 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar yearly.