El-Rufai Flags Off Construction Of Potato Factory In Kaduna

Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, Potato Factory Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, has flagged off the construction of a Potato Farm and Processing factory worth $120 million, in line with his administration’s economic diversification programme.

The factory, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. It is located at Manchok in Kaura Local Government Area of the state in northwest Nigeria.

The proposed factory is being constructed in partnership with Vicampro International, an agro-based company with branches in several countries.

At the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed factory on Saturday, Governor El-Rufai said the processing facility would earn foreign exchange and reduce over-dependence on oil.

He stated further that the state government was committed to promoting agricultural practices to fast track development, diversify the economy and boost Internally Generated Revenue.

Reduction Of Poverty

The Governor appealed to the host community to support and cooperate with Vicampro, in order to pave way for the attainment of its mission.

He expressed the belief that the return of vibrant economic activities and the reduction of poverty among the populace would drive prosperity and reduce the divisions that became pronounced as the state’s economy entered dire straits from the late 1980s.

In his remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, spoke on the issue of access to finance, which he said remained a major challenge of most investors.

He pledged that the issue was being addressed to ensure that investors with viable ideas were given the necessary support.

Need For Diversification

The CBN Governor, who said the drop in oil prices had affected Nigeria’s economy drastically, suggested further diversification as the only alternative to overcome the economic crisis.

He assured the people that the CBN would collaborate with the Kaduna State government to translate the idea to reality for the benefit of all.

On her part, the Minister of State of Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, described the development as a giant stride towards moving the nation’s economy forward.

Giving the details of the project, the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), Gambo Hamza, explained that to successfully run the plant, the factory would need about 10,000 hectares of land for potato cultivation.

He added that upon completion, the factory would have the capacity to process 2,500 tonnes of potatoes daily and create at least 30,000 jobs.

In his remark, the Managing Director of Vicampro, Michael Agbogbo, said the company would produce French fries, Irish flakes and biscuits for local and international consumption.

The residents of Manchok on their part, lauded the investment and expressed hopes that it would improve their community’s economy and provide jobs for them.

Policy Inconsistency Responsible For Nigeria’s ‘Little Economic Transformation And Very Low Quality Growth’ – Report

AgricultureThe United Kingdom’s Economic Transformation Report says Nigeria has experienced little economic transformation and very low quality growth in recent times compared with other oil exporting countries in the world.

The Director of the Supporting Economic Transformation Program an economic research and support program of the United Kingdom, Mr Dirk Willem, identified inconsistency in policies as a major factor causing the economic transformation gap.

Mr Willem made the remarks at the public presentation of the Supporting Economic Transformation Report in Abuja, where he Also recommended that government should move away from the “business as usual” way of doing things and work at expanding the country’s industrial and manufacturing base.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar assures of government’s continued determination to diversify the economy despite current economic challenges the country is grappling with.

SMEDAN DG Seeks Effective Funding of MSMEs in Nigeria

Ogun state has tasked the government on small and medium scale enterprise SMEsThe Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Radda has advocated the urgent need for the review of the operations of the agency in order to reposition it for effective management of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.

He stated this during a strategic management retreat of the agency in Kaduna state, North West Nigeria.

Dr Radda pointed out that Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria have not been effectively funded by government despite the sector’s contribution in the areas of job creation, poverty alleviation and revenue generation.

He told the gathering that access to affordable finance for MSMEs has remained a major challenge to the agency’s inability to nurture such enterprises.

Minister of for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, while commending the effort of SMEDAN in trying to diversify the economy from the oil sector, tasked the agency to initiate programmes that will boost the micro finance enterprises and also to collaborate with other institutions in both public and private sector in order to create enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

On the other hand, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Kaduna State, Mr Shehu Balarabe, called on SMEDAN to unlock all funding opportunities available to MSMEs to enable the state benefit from such programmes.

The retreat is aimed at providing a platform for the review of the agency’s operations over the years and strategically chart the way forward.

It is also aimed at aligning with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration programme in revamping the productive and service sectors of the Nigerian economy without oil, and creating massive job opportunities for the citizens.