Group executive director of BUA Group, Kabiru Rabiu has advised the federal government to create National Rice Development Council (NRDC) just like the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC).
Rabiu made this suggestion during the inauguration of the Nigerian Sugar Institute (NSI) in Ilorin, Kwara State.
According to him, NSDC’s supervisory and coordination role in the sugar industry 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,” he said.
Kabiru Rabiu, who was a pioneer chairman of the NSI where he led the implementation committee for the Institute, expressed happiness that the institute had finally seen the light of the day. He also stressed the importance and benefits of the institute on the sugar sub-sector in reducing the skills gap in the industry and attaining better technologies and techniques in sugarcane production and processing.
It should be noted that Rabiu first 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.
Speaking directly to the minister of industry, trade and investments, Otunba Niyi Adebayo who was present at the occasion, Rabiu noted that whilst so much intervention and successes have been made in the rice sub sector, 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 for Rice. This, he said will help Nigeria move faster towards attaining adequate rice production and processing whilst reducing prices and boost competition.
In his remarks on the sugar institute, the minister of industry, trade and investment, Adebayo stated that the federal government was ready to partner with private investors in sugar production in the country. He said that investment already made by the federal government and the private sector in the industry was capable of creating thousands of jobs in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Executive secretary of NSDC, Dr Latif Busari, said that the newly inaugurated Nigeria Sugar Institute (NSI) in Ilorin, would aid the ongoing drive towards achieving a virile and competitive sugar industry for the country.