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FG ‘ll tackle poverty, unemployment through sugar production- NSDC Chief

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FG ‘ll tackle poverty, unemployment through sugar production- NSCDC Chief
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Mr Zaccheus Adedeji, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), says the Federal Government is committed to eradication of poverty and tackle unemployment in the country.

Adedeji made the assertions during the ground breaking of N300 billion Brent Sugar Plantation and Mill on Tuesday in Iseyin.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Brent Sugar Plantation and Mill is sited on 11,000 hectares of land along Iseyin-Ogbomoso Road.

Adedeji said that the investment by Brent Sugar was a practical demonstration of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration toward building a producing nation.

He said that the Federal Government must do all necessary to attract the private sector investors that could take Nigerians, particularly youths, out of poverty.

“One of the major tools that we have and which can help us take youths out of poverty is the sugarcane-based industries.

“We must commend Brent Sugar Ltd., for deeming it fit to establish this kind of project in this environment. This is not only for Oyo State, but for Nigeria.

“The mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari is that we must eat what we grow and grow what we eat, this is practical,” he said.

Adedeji said that parts of the government’s efforts to encourage investors were waiver of duties on imported equipment and relief from tax payment for five years from the date of establishment.

Also, Mr Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, said that the Federal Government was doing all necessary to encourage private sector and harness the nation’s potential.

Adamu, represented by Mrs Esther Oluniyi, said that irrigation was a major way of increasing food production.

He said that reduction in the importation of sugar was a result of government’s effort at increasing local production.

Commenting, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the President, African Development Bank (AfDB), said that industrialisation was the pillar for economic prosperity

Adesina, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Industrialisation, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelahan, said that establishment of Brent Sugar “is a path to industrialisation and economic prosperity”.

He urged the people to cooperate with the company, saying that there were a lot of benefit as a community and nation.

In his remarks, Mr Martins Akinola, the Chief Executive Officer, Brent Sugar Ltd., said that total investment to be committed to the project was about N300 billion over a period of five years.

“For the sugarcane plantation, the company is investing nothing less than N120 billion for the 11, 000 hectares that we are going to plant. We are going to phase it on yearly basis.

“In 2023, we are going to plant 1,000 hectares and we are hoping that the following year, we will be doubling it on yearly basis.

“For the integrated mill and the refinery, that is going to cost about N30 billion, because it is going to have coal generation, which will generate electricity,” Akinola said.

He said they would be cultivating 11,000 hectares for the sugar plantation, adding that 5,000 would be from the company and 6,000 by outgrowers.

According to him, the company would be generating 30 megawatts of electricity, using BAGAS and employment opportunities for no fewer than 10,000 people.

He said that 300,000 litres of ethanol would be generated in addition to the 600,000 capacity from Brent farms.

Akinola said that part of their social responsibilities to Iseyin Community would be building of model schools and award of scholarships to indigent students.

He, then appealed to the Oyo State Government to construct motorable road to Ikere Gorge Dam, which would serve as irrigation purpose to the company.

Akinola thanked the president; Adedeji and Gov. Seyi Makinde for their supports, which he said, had helped the company to attain the present state.

“We are expecting, by the special grace of God, to be into production and milling in the next two years here in Iseyin. We have technical partners from abroad.

“The equipment and maintenance are going to be handled by our partners from India. About eight of them will join us from February next year.

“This is going to be the biggest investment in Oyo State and I am happy that the state government is a co-owner in the investment,” he said.

In his response, Makinde promised to ensure that the road to Ikere Gorge Dam was constructed and made motorable for all.

The governor, represented by his Deputy, Mr Bayo Lawal, said the state government was committed to infrastructure development of the state.

Makinde said that such was evident in the interconnectivity project of the administration aimed at connecting the five zones of the state.

He said that the company would complement effort of his administration in the areas of poverty reduction, employment creation and infrastructural development.

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