THE Federal Government is aiming to reposition the oil palm sector to enhance its contribution as a revenue source as it targets the creation of four million job opportunities in the sector.
During the presentation of the draft Oil Palm Policy in Abuja Thursday, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Sunday Akpan, the dwindling contribution of the sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In a statement signed by Mr Sorinolu Olayinka, Senior Information Officer in the ministry, the Director, Department of Commodity Produce and Inspectorate (CPI), Mrs Omololu Ope-Ewe, who represented Akpan said that oil palm, which once played a predominant role in the GDP of the country, depended on imported ones to augment local production.
He said that the contribution of local production was just about one per cent GDP, a far cry from the 70 per cent it contribution in the past.
Akpan noted the potential of the sector to sufficiently place the country as a major oil palm producer and exporter, “as against what is obtainable in the crude oil sector.”
He said: “The essence of the national oil palm policy is to guide, regulate, protect and support both public and private investment in the sector.”
He charged stakeholders to put aside personal and organisational interest and consider the draft policy document bearing in mind the impact it would create on the economy.
With the policy in place, Akpan said that the country would have a national document that would protect the sector, while due diligence would be done to stimulate investment for higher productivity.
He expressed optimism of government’s support for a robust oil palm industry that would benefit all, after approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
A stakeholder, Mrs Funmi Ilamah of the Management Strategy Advisory Ltd., said that the policy document was very important to the producers of the crude palm oil as it will boost job creation and increase the sources of revenue to governments at all levels.