By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Ahead of the commissioning and operation of the 32-metric tonnes per hour Rice Mill in Imota in Ikorodu, Lagos State Government has handed over the management of the facility to private investor for efficient running.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, presided over the ceremony where officials of the State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WACOT Rice Limited, a subsidiary of TGI Group.The private firm is to provide operational support and manage the mill for nine months in the first instance through Joint Venture.
The partnership is subject to renewal subsequently.
Sanwo-Olu is expected to hand over the rice mill in the next few months, after which it would commence commercial operation.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the privatisation of the rice mill’s operations was to ensure efficiency in the output of the facility, noting that the idea was initiated in 2019 when the State Government started the discussion with the firm.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture (Rice Initiative), Dr. Rotimi Fashola, said the Governor believed the mill would be optimised if it had a respectable private brand behind it and a technical support team that could provide intervention towards making the mill sustainable and functional to its capacity.
He said: “There is a need for the Government to put the rice mill on the path of sustainability and give it to a handling that will project quality. We sourced to have a partnership in rice production business that has a stable brand and eye for efficiency. This brings forth this Joint Venture and technical support agreement with WACOT.
“In Nigeria today, this is a brand consumers want to purchase in the market. We are delighted that we are able to bring WACOT to the table for technical support, managerial and quality assurance skills. The partnership agreement being signed today will be for nine months in the first instance and subsequently can be renewed. All i’s have been dotted and all t’s have been crossed.”
Group Managing Director of TGI Group, Rahul Savara, said Lagos Government found a great partner in the firm, pledging that the company would be deploying standard technology and services in managing the rice mill.
He said the private firm shared the Sanwo-Olu administration’s conviction to meet high demand for rice and make Lagos self-sufficient in rice production and processing.
“We are ready to work with Lagos State to make the facility run at its best. We will be deploying the best expertise, technique and training to make the Government proud of this investment,” Savara said.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, provided the legal instruments backing the MoU.
Other top management staff of TGI Group at the ceremony included the Group’s Executive Director, Jerome Shogbon, Company Secretary, Omowumi Fajemiroye, Head Corporate Communication, Rafiat Gawat, and representative of Banwo & Ighodalo Partner, Azeezah Muse-Sadiq.