The investment drive of the Kwara State Government has yielded more dividends as the President, Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has pledged that his company will invest over $600 million in the production of sugar in the state as well as Kebbi and Sokoto States.
Dangote stated this in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, yesterday during a courtesy call on the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, at the Government House, Ilorin.
According to him, “My company intends to replicate what it did in the cement industry by targeting about 65million tonnes of sugar.”
He said the development would produce about one million jobs for the people.
Dangote emphasised that in the next five years, the company would produce and grow two million tonnes of sugar, as part of efforts to ensure that
Nigeria is self-sufficient in consumables instead of depending on importation.
He said Nigeria was wasting quite a lot of money in the importation of about two million tonnes of sugar, adding that the company had identified Patigi Local Government Area of the state for the sugarcane plantation.
Dangote expressed hope that with the cooperation of the people and the state government, the project would take off before the end of the year.
Responding, Ahmed said his administration was very committed to working with investors in the bid to transform the economic lives of the people.
Ahmed assured Dangote that his administration would create enabling environment for would-be investors to operate coupled with adequate security for the growth of the economy.
Also speaking during a courtesy call to Governor Aliyu, Wamakko of Sokoto State yesterday, Dangote promised to invest N180 billion to build four sugar factories in the state and Kebbi State in the next four years.
He said the four sugar plants would be established on a 120,000 hectare of land, adding that it would have the capacity to produce one million tonnes of sugar per annum.
According to him, the sugar plants when completed, are expected to generate 150,000 jobs for people in the two states.
“We are looking at establishing two sugar factories in Sokoto and two in Kebbi State on 120,000 hectares of land,” he said.
He stated that at least 150 mega watts of electricity would be generated from the factory, as soon the project comes on stream.
He maintained that the desire to invest in sugar factory in the two states, was borne out of the need to create opportunity for people to
be gainfully employed in the North-west, thereby reducing restiveness.
“As you are aware, for a very long time, 1 have been looking for where to invest in the North especially in the North-west. I have been
looking for ways to create jobs and empower thousands of youths in the zone.
“So, I believe this is a great opportunity to invest in sugar factory in Sokoto which has the capacity to generate over 150,000 jobs. And I
believe this will create wealth and prosperity and go a long way in curbing restiveness and insecurity because if there is disposable income, youths will not be easily lured to engage in violence,” Dangote stressed.
He emphasised that the North is blessed with land and water which if adequately utilised, could bring wealth and prosperity to the region.
The business mogul expressed readiness to invest huge funds in agriculture, adding that the agricultural sector can generate wealth just as oil.
“Nothing brings prosperity like agriculture. Agriculture can generate wealth just like oil and in sugar production, there is no waste.
Farming is no longer cheap and if we can engage our people in massive farming activities, prosperity will come and this has been done all over the world,” he added.
Dangote assured Wamakko of his determination to deliver the project in four years, adding that Nigeria has huge market for the product.
In a remark, Wamakko described the plan as a welcome development.
He noted that Sokoto is blessed with abundant mineral resources like gold, gypsum, iron, limestone among others which were yet to be exploited.
He described the business mogul as a role model and appealed to other wealthy individuals in the North to invest in the region to reduce mass unemployment.