President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, said that lack of employment opportunities in the rural areas had led to the high spate of insecurity in the country.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving members of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The statement was titled “New 41.3bn fertilizer plant ready in months, President Buhari says.”
The President was quoted as saying that for decades, previous government policies have focused on urban development at the expense of rural inclusion.
He said, “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 five-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.”
Buhari was said to have announced that a new basic chemicals platform worth $1.3bn that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria will be ready for inauguration in the coming months.
He said the new plant will be built in partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco.
He added, “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 and Diammonium Phosphate fertilisers using Nigeria’s gas reserves.”
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.
On the activities of the FEPSAN, President Buhari expressed delight on the progress they have made over the past five years, saying that despite the country going through recessions during the period, investments in the fertiliser and agricultural inputs sector continued to grow.
He said, “Though many investors chose to take their monies out of Nigeria, you continued to invest. Today, we are seeing the fruits of your smart, long term and patriotic decisions.
“This is why all Nigerians should be proud of the personal commitments and sacrifices you all made in getting us to where we are today.
“Another commendable trait worth mentioning is that all your investments have been balanced between urban and rural Nigeria. These are the types of investments needed to address the unemployment and security challenges our nation is facing today.”
He assured them that the Federal Government would continue to ensure a conducive business environment for these investments to flourish.
The President commended 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, FEPSAN President, Mr Thomas Etuh, 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 fou-year period.