Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has assured Edo people that the abandoned fertilizer plant at Auchi would be up and running in the next three months, creating the first set of employment to the people.
Obaseki made the disclosure while speaking with Journalists on Saturday shortly after he made an on-the-spot assessment visit to the site with the Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund along with other investors in Auchi, Etsako West local government area.
“Well as you can see for yourselves, this is the type of industry they said they built for us when they said they were going to industrialize Edo.
“We have come with some investors, Mr. Uche Orji is the Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Funds and you know that they have a programme for fertilizer and agriculture in the country.
“So we have brought them to come and see this facility and to see what we can do to reactivate it; that is the purpose of our being here”.
He said “depending on how quickly we can move with investors; we have some interests from the private sector who understand the fertilizer business and we will get them to come and invest with us. From the positive indications, we believe that we can get this factory running before April,’’ Obaseki said.
On his part Orji, lamented the loss of billions of naira by Edo state these years saying, “with this type of facilities in the state, Edo state has been missing lots of opportunities with a factory like this,’’ he said.
According to him, “once the governor and the investors have agreed, I don’t think it will take too long to get this plant running”.
“Our objective as the governor has mentioned, is to put the raw materials into this plant and have it to start working,’’ Mr. Orji said.
He said “the president has presidential initiative for fertilizer, and the idea is instead of importing finished fertilizer, we bring in the component and blend it locally.
“If you do that, price will come down significantly and luckily, Edo is a state that has lots of raw materials needed.
“So this should be a natural advantage for Edo state to start which will employ alot of people.
“It will also at the same time, bring alot of advantages with it; bring down the prices of fertilizer for the farmers that is the idea of the presidential special programme,’’ he said.
Mr. Thomas Etu, President Fertilizer Producers Association of Nigeria, who described the abandoned fertilizer plant as a great facility said “with some little investments, this factory will be up and running in the next two to three months”.
Etu said that, “with the presidential initiative on ground, it is a place that jobs would be created, as we are looking at a minimum of one thousand people being on a train of shifts running in this factory and the prices of fertilizer would come down and become affordable to the farmers at N5,500.
“While the product will be sold here at the plant at N5,000 per bag; so it is a great opportunity and we should be thanking the governor for showing interest to look at this plant and see how it is going to be beneficial to everybody in the state,’’ he said.