The Federal Government aims to create no fewer than four million new jobs across the country through palm oil production.
Sunday Akpan, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, at a stakeholder’s forum for the presentation of draft oil palm policy document.
Represented by the Director, Department of Commodity Produce and Inspectorate, Mrs Omololu Ope-Ewe, the permanent secretary confirmed that the Federal Government was leaving no stone unturned in its effort to revamp the oil palm sector. This aims at creating more jobs and opening up more revenue sources for the government and the private sector.
Oil Palm Sector in Jeopardy: According to Akpan, there was a time when oil palm contributed about 70% of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP. Now, it contributes just about 1%. He then lamented the gross neglect of oil palm, which has resulted in Nigeria relying heavily on importation to supplement local production.
Sector’s Huge Potential Explained: He, however, expressed confidence in the sector’s potential, which could be harnessed for job creation, poverty reduction, and forex earnings. He said Nigeria must explore such potential to position itself as a major oil palm producer.
“THE ESSENCE OF THE NATIONAL OIL PALM POLICY IS TO GUIDE, REGULATE, PROTECT AND SUPPORT BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN THE SECTOR.”
Akpan enjoined stakeholders to shelve personal interests and consider the draft policy document, noting its potential impact on the economy. He said the country would have a national document that would protect the sector if the policy is in place.
FG to Lift Oil Palm Sector: Assuring stakeholders, Mr. Akpan promised that the government would make plans to encourage investment in the sector for higher productivity. He said the document would be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council for approval upon completion.