23 February 2010

Nigeria: Citizens Await UNIDO's Palm Oil, Textile Clusters

Lagos — Nigerians still await the plans by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Bank of Industry (BOI) to fund and develop palm oil, rice and textile sectors in the country.

Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the two organizations to understudy the sectors and facilitate supports for the development of clusters for the three agricultural products.

Though, the amount involved was not disclosed, but UNIDO representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Lamine during a recent meeting in Abuja with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) on how to get investors and other stakeholders committed to the projects said, "UNIDO as chain value agency will provide technical support for the projects while BOI will monitor the disbursement of the funds".

Lamine explained that UNIDO has supported a study on the textile sector and has also met with stakeholders in the sector, listened to their complaints and aspirations, concluding that its mission to NIPC was to work with the government and map out long and medium term strategies to develop and improve cotton, rice cluster and palm oil.

The representative, who noted that there were lots of opportunities in the sectors, which require a lot of investments, also explained that they occupy very unique position in the economy, stressing that UNIDO is giving it more attention.

In the same vein, the General Manager of BOI, M r Mohammed Alkate said the bank had entered into agreement with UNIDO and the mandate of the bank was to provide the funds and disburse it to industrialists. The GM, who noted that the aspect of projects involved are critical to the development and industrial growths of the country said such move informed why BOI is deeply involved, disclosing that the disbursement of textile fund, which its management has just been transferred to the bank would begin soon.

The Executive Secretary of NIPC, Mustapha Bello in his reaction welcomed the collaboration between BOI and UNIDO on the rice and textile developments as well as the technical assistance, giving assurance that BOI will benefit immensely from the programme.

He however expressed the readiness of the Council to give necessary assistance needed for the success of the projects, stressing that the rice funds and technical supports are part of the World Bank's pilot programme in Lagos.

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