‘Why government should replicate sugar policy in rice sector’
The Group Executive Director of BUA Group and pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Sugar Institute, Kabiru Rabiu, has advised the Federal Government to replicate reform in the sugar sector in the rice sub-sectorand other food industry sectors with growth potential.
Rabiu during the inauguration of the Nigerian Sugar Institute in Ilorin, Kwara State, said the Nigerian Sugar Development Council’s (NSDC) supervisory and coordination role has been highly beneficial and is a model that should be replicated in other sectors.
Currently, the NSDC coordinates the activities of the Nigerian Sugar sector through monitoring of the backward integration and import substitution programme that has seen significant investments in various Cane-to-Sugar projects by private operators in the industry.
Kabiru Rabiu also stressed the importance and benefits of the Institute on the sugar subsector in reducing the skills gap in the industry and attaining better technologies and techniques in sugarcane production and processing.
Rabiu had recommended the establishment of the Institute during a Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (Industrial Council) meeting chaired by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in 2018.
Addressing the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investments, Niyi Adebayo, who was launching the institute, Rabiu noted that whilst so much intervention and successes have been made in the rice subsector, a lot more could be done through the introduction of a single coordinating body like the NSDC that can help the government in formulating policies and monitoring progress.
He added that this will help Nigeria move faster towards attaining adequate rice production, and processing whilst reducing prices and boosting competition.
Responding, Adebayo reiterating the Federal Government’s readiness to partner with private investors in sugar production in Nigeria, said investment already made by the apex government and the private sector in the industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of NSDC, Dr. Latif Busari, said the newly-inaugurated Nigeria Sugar Institute would aid the ongoing drive towards achieving a virile and competitive sugar industry for the country.
Busari added that the Institute would also fill the current void in critical areas of Nigeria’s sugar industry such as research, development and innovation as well as technical manpower development to sustain the industry growth.
Also speaking, Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq pledged that his government will continue to create an environment for industrial growth, in partnership with both the Federal Government and the private sector for the benefit of residents of the state. The governor said the state has the potential of providing enough sugarcane for sugar industries in the country.