President Muhammadu Buhari has voiced concern that the lack of employment prospects and opportunities in most rural communities has remained a major contributor to insecurity.
President Buhari spoke on Thursday while hosting a delegation of Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN).
The President said that for decades, previous government policies had focused on urban development at the expense of rural inclusion.
“In the last four years, we have worked hard to bridge some of these economic imbalances through our various agricultural and financial policies to attract employment opportunities to rural areas.
“As we continue to expand our security operations to bring an end to these challenges, it is important to note that peace and prosperity can only be sustained if we collectively and actively support investments that take opportunities to our rural citizens.
“I therefore urge our governors, bankers, investors and entrepreneurs to look beyond our cities when it comes to investments.
“As we have seen from Nigeria’s 5-year fertiliser revolution, if investors are willing to endure the short term ‘start-up’ pains, they will surely benefit from long term sustainable and substantial gains,” he said.
Says $1.3bn fertilizer will be ready plant in months
President Buhari revealed that a new basic chemicals platform worth $1.3b that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria will be ready for commissioning in the coming months, saying the new plant will be built in partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco.
“His Majesty, the King of Morocco and I, have agreed to extend the current Phosphate supply agreement between the Kingdom of Morocco and Nigeria.
“We both believe that to consolidate and expand on the successes recorded thus far, we must secure raw material supplies to our blenders.
“Furthermore, to improve the balance of trade between Nigeria and Morocco, the two countries have signed an agreement to develop a $1.3 billion Basic Chemicals Platform in Nigeria that will produce Ammonia, Phosphoric Acid, Sulphuric Acid and various Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) and Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilisers using Nigeria’s gas reserves,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
The President added that the new plant when completed would complement the existing Dangote and Indorama Chemicals facilities which produce urea, ammonia and other industrial raw materials.
“When we combine these projects with the existing 44 blending plants, Nigeria will indeed become a regional and global fertiliser power house,” he said.
The President lauded Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Mr Thomas Etuh and his FEPSAN team, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, security and intelligence agencies and all Federal and State Government agencies for their collaboration in making the project possible.
In his remarks, Mr Thomas Etuh, FEPSAN President recounted that in their first meeting with the President five years ago, he gave the association a mission to reduce Nigeria’s reliance on import, enhance fertiliser availability and affordability and create jobs over a 4-year period.
Etuh told the President that from 3 blending plants operating at 40 per cent capacity in 2016, today Nigeria has 44 blending plants most of which are operating at full capacity.