Nigeria is recording steady and appreciable progress in the implementation of its policy roadmap for the sugar sector as captured in the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), Zacch Adedeji, executive secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has said.
The NSMP is a 10-year ambitious blueprint designed to revitalize the sector and make Nigeria a net exporter of the commodity.
The Federal Executive Council at its 37th meeting held on September 19, 2012, approved the NSMP for implementation and adoption as a government strategy roadmap for the development of the sugar sub-sector. Actual implementation began in 2013.
Adedeji in a press statement said the industry has attracted over N250 billion worth of investments through its backward integration programme in seven years of the initiative, even as more investors have expressed their willingness to commit more resources to the sector.
Only recently a new investor, KIA Group Africa completed the process of acquiring the defunct Nigeria Sugar Company (NISUCO) in Bacita, Kwara state and has since commenced work.
The KIA Group now joins existing industry players like the Dangote Group, BUA Group and the Flour Mills to drive the BIP component of the NSMP.
“The new owner has set its eyes on producing at least 300,000 metric tons of sugarcane, refining an estimated 204,000 metric tons of the sweet commodity, and targeting N46 billion in revenue by 2027.”
He further added that a workforce of about 20,000 employees would be engaged to drive the company towards optimum production and ensure economic growth of the country.
Likewise, another major player in the industry, Flour Mills Limited recently signed a multi-millionaire agreement with the Nasarawa state government to build a factory in Toto LGA. The new project is in addition to the company’s N50 billion Golden Sugar in Sunti, Niger state.
According to the statement signed by Ahmed Waziri, the director executive secretary’s office, Adedeji restated the government’s readiness to build a globally competitive sugar industry that would boost the local economy, provide jobs for Nigeria’s teeming youth population and position Nigeria as a net exporter of the commodity.
He stated that the council in its wisdom recently convened a roundtable meeting comprising critical stakeholders to deliberate and share perspectives on challenges associated with the importation of equipment and machinery by some operators.
The meeting brought together stakeholders from the Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Ministry of Finance, and Central Bank of Nigeria as well as members of the organized private sector. The forum later deliberated and adopted modest and cost-effective measures that would address the concerns of both the government and operators.