Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The Federal Government said it plans to create about four million jobs through oil palm production in the country.
This was disclosed by Sunday Akpan, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in a statement signed by Sorinolu Olayinka, Senior Information Officer in the ministry, in Abuja.
Akpan, who was represented by the Director, Department of Commodity Produce and Inspectorate, Omololu Ope-Ewe, said this during the presentation of the draft Oil Palm Policy document value chain.
He said the Federal Government was working toward ensuring the repositioning of the Oil Palm sector for optimal contribution in terms of job creation and revenue sources for both government and the private sector.
Akpan said oil palm, which once played a predominant role in the Gross Domestic Product of the country, depended on imported ones to augment local production.
He said the local production was just about one per cent GDP, unlike the contribution of 70 per cent GDP in the past.
Akpan said there is potential in the sector with the propensity to sufficiently and conveniently place the country as a major oil palm producer and exporter “as against what is obtainable in the crude oil sector.
“The essence of the national oil palm policy is to guide, regulate, protect and support both public and private investment in the sector.”
He charged stakeholders to put aside personal and organisational interest and consider the draft policy document bearing in mind the impact it would create on the economy.
Akpan said with the policy in place, the country would have a national document that would protect the sector, while due diligence would be done to stimulate investment for higher productivity.
He assured all stakeholders of government’s support for a robust oil palm industry that would be of immense benefit for all, which, upon completion, the document would be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
In her presentation of the draft policy document, Funmi Ilamah of the Management Strategy Advisory Limited, said the policy document was very important to the producers of the crude palm oil.
Ilamah said the policy remained a fundamental step toward strengthening and supporting the development of agriculture in Nigeria as presently introduced by the current administration and the private sector.
She said the final National Policy Document on Palm Oil value chain in Nigeria would allow producers to complete globally in the international market.
The policy, according to her, will increase the sources of revenue to government at state and federal levels and boost job creation in the country.