The Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, says the Nigeria Sugar Institute (NSI) just commissioned in Ilorin, Kwara State, ”will create hundreds of thousands of jobs”.
Mr Adebayo, who spoke at the ceremony held on Saturday, described the commissioning of the institute as a landmark achievement and a testament to what public-private partnership can achieve.
Also at the ceremony were the governor of the state, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq; his deputy, Patrick Alabi; Emir of Ilorin, Zulu Gambari; chairman of Dangote group, Aliko Dangote, amongst others.
According to the minister, “the sugar industry holds a special place in Nigeria’s industrialisation story. It carries the expectations of creating over a hundred thousand jobs and the NSI is one of the key instruments for ensuring its sustainability”.
He said the institute would provide cutting-edge research and development programmes that will enhance the development of the sugar industry and its viability, competitiveness, and sustainability.
He added that the establishment will “facilitate the dissemination, extension, adoption, and commercialisation of its research and development activities; and develop the human resources required to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the Nigeria sugar industry.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Lateef Busari, said the institute is “a critical enabler for the implementation of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), embodying three backup pillars that will support the drive for a virile and competitive sugar industry”.
“These are: Research, Development & Innovation; Technical Manpower Development; and Provision of clean and pure seed cane for growers, all based on the most advanced technologies available.
“As the industry regulator, the council may no longer directly engage in R&D or capacity development. Indeed, our enabling law requires Council to utilise the sugar levy to only support these critical activities. This is what we have been doing and will continue to do, within the constraints of available funds.
“Going forward, however, this institute is to be largely funded and managed by the sugar operators. It is a unique experiment in public-private sector collaboration to advance research and capacity development for an industrial sector in Nigeria, and all stakeholders owe it to Nigerians to ensure its success.
“Therefore, all the R&D as well as capacity development functions which Council used to carry out, in collaboration with other partners are now to be handled directly by the institute, with Council’s support,” he said.
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