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Nigeria can generate N16. 2 trillion annually from palm oil – Dogara

Nigeria can generate N16. 2 trillion annually from palm oil – Dogara

By Ahmed Ahmed

A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has called on President Bola Tinubu to develop oil palm cultivation as it could generate up to N16.2 trillion naira annually for the country in just five years from now.
This is just as he emphasised that assisting poor people to revive large scale farming of oil palm could lead to the upliftment of a good number of Nigerians from poverty.

He said research has shown that Nigeria can revive the cultivation of palm oil by engaging 2,500,000 households from states that can plant and grow palm trees and empower them to cultivate just one hectare each. He said each hectare has 150 trees that on the average can generate N5, 000,000 per annum and multipled by 2,500,000 will amount to 375,000,000 trees that can generate up to N16. 2 trillion per annum in just five years from now.

With this, he argued, millions of Nigerians will be lifted out of multidimensional poverty.

Dogara, who also called for an investigation into the status and administration of oil palm levy set up by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, said this in Abuja on Wednesday night during a meeting with the National Association of National Palm Producers Association of Nigeria (NPPAN).

The ex-speaker urged President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly to unravel the silence around the palm oil levy which was earmarked for development of the plan in Nigeria. The funds are warehoused in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He said, ‘’Throughout my 16 years in the National Assembly, I didn’t have any reason to think about oil palm levy, though I know that it was instituted by Obasanjo’s government in 2001. So that money has been there, accumulating in the CBN, assuming, we are believing that CBN still has the money.

‘’I am happy that members of the National Assembly are here, it is their responsibility to throw open accounts and investigate if this money is there. It must have risen to hundreds of billions by now so we don’t even have to look for money. I believe the media should amplify this discussion to know if the money is there or not.

‘’The president should, in the national interest, look into the administration of this funds, the whereabouts. If it is there, there is no issue, we don’t have any problem. But if that money is not there, whoever has taken that money should face the music.’’

He noted that ‘’this venture (oil palm development) will be taking so many families out of poverty, so it is something that has to be done. I’ll also suggest that for us to make progress, maybe there will be a need for the president to constitute a presidential implementation committee on oil palm development in Nigeria.

“Let him escalate the thing to a point whereby almost on a monthly basis, there will be briefings as to progress made in this direction,’’ adding that it will inject up to ‘’16.2 billion (or trillion?) into the economy.

Hon. Dogara urged all stakeholders to continue advocacy on alleviating poverty in Nigeria through oil palm cultivation across the country until it gets to the appropriate persons.

Earlier, the chairman of NPPAN, Ambassador Alphonsus Infant, .conferred the honour of the national patron of the association on Hon. Dogara. He said the ex-speaker was chosen for the honour because he is a ‘’good negotiator of policies’’ and will negotiate for the restoration of the lost glory of oil palm in Nigeria.

‘’Up to the 60s, Nigeria controlled the market. 60 percent of the world’s production and export came from Nigeria. Then, petroleum was found. Oil lost its place, just like many others lost their place. The glory we lost, we want to regain,’’ he lamented.

He added, ‘’Indonesia produces 80 million tonnes of palm oil per year. Malaysia produces 19.2 million tonnes per year, China produces 5 million tonnes per year, Columbia 1.2 million tonnes per year and surprisingly, and quite sadly so, Nigeria produces 1.4 million tonnes per yer. And this position, we may lose it any point from now. The reason is that India has just declared as a policy that two million hectares of rice farm should be declared as oil palm estates.’’

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