The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, says the last edition of the annual summit has brought remarkable benefits in terms of investments, policy initiatives and global competitiveness for the industrial sector. Funsho Phillips, chairman of the group made this disclosure at the 20th edition of the Nigeria Economic Summit holding in Abuja, while reviewing the previous edition, which held just five months ago. Agribusiness was the focus of the last summit with the theme, ‘Growing Agriculture as a business to diversify Nigeria’s Economy. According to him, no less than an estimated N1 billion have been plowed into the country’s agricultural sector after the 19th edition.
“This success”, Foluso said, “underscores the responses of the private sector and multilateral agencies. For instance, Cargill Inc., an offshore company has committed $100 million in the processing of cassava into sweeteners in the country”. Also, Crest Agro Products, part of the indigenous investment group, Cardinal Stone Partners , is investing $72million in establishing a cassava to starch processing plant in Kogi state.
Similarly, Dansa Foods, a subsidiary of the Dangote Group, has already commenced a $515 million investment in the large-scale production of tomatoes, rice, and sorghum in Kano State. In the same manner, Flour Mills of Nigeria has committed $217 million to processing cassava into starch and sweetener in Kwara State. Apart from these, NESG believes that specific recommendations made at the conclusion of the summit are in the process of being adopted as government policies.
“The Federal Executive Council, FEC, has adopted several agricultural policies. But beyond the adoption of policy measures, the government is currently seeking legislation to support Agricultural Transformation,” said Phillips. Some of these instances include proposed Growth Enhancement Scheme, a Bill already being reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General.
There is now a formal National Policy on the Staple Crop Processing Zone and drafts of the Bill have been prepared and reviewed by key stakeholders.
The creation of a Commodity Exchange, under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is being actively discussed with several international interested parties who have experience in this field. The NESG chairman also disclosed that there is significant support and interest from World Bank, African Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Islamic Development Bank, European Investment Bank, as well as private infrastructure funds.