The Governor, Central Bank Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, recently restated the commitment of the apex bank towards leveraging agriculture as a pivot for the diversification of the economy. Mr. Emefiele’s statement came at the recent ground breaking at Garin Ciroma, Gagarawa Local Government, Jigawa State. CBN has been in the forefront of the campaign of the present administration to turn the attention of Nigerians to Agriculture.
According to him, it was in this regard that the bank supported Jigawa State government and a Chinese company, Lee Group to establish a multi-billion naira white refined sugar cane factory that will generate N60 billion annually for the state. While lamenting that Nigeria spends over $100 million importing sugar despite its capacity to cultivate sugarcane and produce sugar, he commended the Jigawa State and its Chinese partners for embarking on the project.
Speaking further, he noted that the sugar production was part of CBN’s core aspect of the anchor-borrowers programme, adding that the Bank will support Lee Group and other small scale farmers that are involved in sugarcane production in such a way that the company could buy-off the sugarcane planted by farmers. The Governor noted further that the Lee Group had touched the hearts of Nigerians by heeding the presidential call towards self-sufficiency. Mr. Emefiele assured that the CBN will give its support to the group to ensure the success of the project, noting that the Group was complementing the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria towards ensuring that Nigeria achieved her goal of diversifying its economy.
In his address, the Jigawa State governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, described the ground breaking ceremony as a pivotal milestone and giant leap in an effort to realize Nigeria’s untapped potential as a future agricultural and an industrial power house. He added that the complex, when completed, would house four independent plants that will eventually produce sugar, food seasoning, organic fertilizer and high density fibre.
He listed other features of the industrial complex to include Sugarcane Crushing Capacity of 14,000 TCD, expected cane yield per hetre of 100mMT/H; expected total Sugar Production of 120,000 metric tons per annum, adding that the complex had the potential of engaging 5,000 workers through direct employment. Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Lee Group of Companies, Mr. Lee Sheau stated that agriculture had the potential to revive the Nigerian economy, adding that investment in this sector would reduce the dependence on food importation; provide the much needed employment and reduce the massive foreign exchange requirement of Nigeria.