KANO — The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday said that Nigeria’s integrated mills have increased drastically from 10 to 60 within a period of six years.
This was also as he boasted that Nigerian milled rice can now compete favourably and match the foreign brand.
Emefiele disclosed this while commissioning the multi-billion naira Gerawa Ultra modern rice mill factory with 420 metric tonnes per day capacity and flag-off of the 2nd phase with 560 metric tonnes per day capacity in Kano.
According to him, “Prior to the anchor borrowers program by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, the country had less than 10 functional integrated mills with a combined capacity of less than 350,000 Metric Tonnes. This has grown astronomically to over 60 integrated mills with the combined capacity of over 3 million Metric Tonnes as of today. And about 10 more mills are scheduled to be commissioned this year.
“The growing number of integrated rice mills have been complimented by hundreds of small-scale mills scattered across the country.
“The enormous private sector investment that has been unlocked in the establishment of rice mills are testaments of the conducive environment we have been able to create in the rice value chain through our initiatives and stakeholders’ collaboration efforts.
“As at today, the quality of our milled rice can match the most foreign brand and as Nigerians, we need to become more patriotic and embrace Mr. President’s mantra of producing what you eat and eat what you produce.
“The proliferation of our markets by substandard imported rice variety has been curtailed as we now have more Nigerian rice mill in the market with the support of the Customs who clamped down on smugglers.
“The gains we are witnessing today are as a result of consistency in policies and sustained growths in our rice revolution initiatives. We are still not yet there in terms of expectations and potential but we have made giant strides from where we used to be in terms of rice cultivation and milling in Nigeria.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been steadfast on the part of economic diversification and it is heartwarming to note that the puzzles are beginning to align.
“Rice remains a major staple food for every Nigerians households and that prominence justifies the attention we have placed on the commodity as a focal part of our food security drive in Nigeria,” Emefiele said.
He also commended the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for what he described as providing enabling environment for commercial activities to thrive in the state.
“I want to also thank Gov. Ganduje for providing the enabling environment for industrialist to set up their factories to do their business in Kano. That is the reason why the economy of Kano is growing today and that is why the level of security is among the best in the country. Your state demonstrates that there is good security in Kano because you have grown the economy in Kano.
“I am happy that we are visiting rice and oil mills owned by Nigerians and not rice mill or oil mill owned by foreigners. This means we (Nigerians) have said we will do it by ourselves for our country. And that is what we deserve,” the CBN Governor, Emefiele said.
On his part, Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State applauded the giant stride achievement recorded by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the agricultural sector and diversifying the economy saying steadily the country is moving towards zero oil economy.
“The dream of President Muhammadu Buhari to produce what we eat and eat what we produce is becoming a reality.
“Slowly but steadily we are diversifying our economy, we are progressing and moving towards zero oil economy in this country.
“We have seen the value and the physical demonstration of Buhari policy in Agriculture anchored by the Governors of Kebbi and CBN. I have seen how we (Jigawa State) developed to become the third in rice production. From one to seven integrated rice mills. How our GDP grow from to N950billion to N2 trillion.
“Farmers of Kano and Jigawa are happy people today because they have large mills such as this that buy the padding immediately from them unlike before that they face difficulty,” Badaru said.
Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State condemned the political opposition against the Buhari régime’s policy on the ban on rice importation while praising the the regime for resisting the pressures.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this achievement recorded in this sector is no doubt a product of the policies and support provided by the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari. We have not forgotten the banning of the importation of rice into the country as well the political opposition against the country.
“But out of determination and consistency, the federal government under the able leadership of president Buhari resisted all pressures from both inside and outside the country, Nigerians are now reaping the benefits, now agriculture is now considered as a serious investment opportunity in Nigeria. Farmers and Millers are now making profits and employment opportunities are being created and generated,” Ganduje stated.
Earlier and speaking on behalf of the management of the rice mill factory, Saidu Abdullahi said the sum of N15 billion was expended in the setting up of the factory while noting that the commissioning of the factory affirms the commitment of the company to support the President Buhari’s administration on food production, employment generation, reduction of Rural-Urban migration and enhancement of economic well-being of the nation.