For the 63-year old Bacita Sugar Company in Edu Council of Kwara state, redemption is in the horizon going by the pronouncements of the state governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdurazaq during a visit to the company.
The governor, on inspection of projects, institutions and agencies in Edu Local Government area, visited the sugar factory, Lafiagi waterworks, BUA Company and the College of Education, Lafiagi.
Bacita Sugar Company was one of the highest employers of over 10,000 workers aside casual workers years ago but presently lying idle after it was handed over to a private investor by the Federal government in 2006.
The governor was received by workers and locals who trooped out to cheer him an also expressed their happeness on his re-assurance.
The Governor who gave account of his meeting with AMCON earlier in Abuja, said the on-the-spot assessment of the abandoned company was part of efforts to revive moribund industries in patnership with private investors. He promised a total overhauling and turn around of the state’s economy for financial sustainability which will translate into employment opportunities for the youths and general prosperity for the state.
Sheriff Umar, one of those who welcomed Governor AbdulRazaq to the community with prayers, wished the governor divine guidance even as he noted that reviving the company would be herculean.
The governor said issues like payment of four years salaries of staffs owed by the company will be taken care of when the company resumes work.
Mr. Joseph Asasile, who has been with the company for over 30 years, appreciated the governor’s effort at reviving the first sugar company in Nigeria. He said the youths of Bacita are hard working and ready to play their own part in ensuring that the company returns to full operation.
While appealing to them to exercise patience with his administration, Governor AbdulRazaq promised to speed up the process of returning the state to viability for proportional opportunities that will lead to enviable growth of all sectors in the state.
Nigeria’s hitherto prosperous sugar factory at Bacita once employed about 4000 workers. Indeed, it catapulted Bacita into limelight turning it into a beehive of economic activities, a predominantly agrarian community made up of about 400 communities and a sugarcane farm of over 30,000 hectares with a production capacity of 300 metric tonnes of sugarcane per day.
Established in 1956 and sold under the Obasanjo administration’s privatization policy leaving over 40,000 youths unemployed and leaving the town desolate.
Experts said the company has sugar refining capabilities and is well positioned for backward integration of planting, harvesting, milling and processing as well as refining of sugar.
Scores of community members and ex-workers had sometimes in 2018, staged a peaceful protest to enlist the Muhammadu Buhari’s assistance to revive the sugar company. Presently, it has just 200 workers on site.