BusinessDay

FG looks to sugar production for foreign exchange, job creation

The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Zacch Adedeji has said that the council, under his leadership is committed to implementing various measures that will make Nigeria’s sugar sector globally competitive. He said this will drive foreign exchange earnings and create more jobs in the country.

Adedeji who said this during an interview in Abuja explained that the sugar sector holds the key to unlocking the job-creating potential of the Nigerian economy.

The NSDC Boss said through the implementation of the Nigerian Sugar Masterplan, the Council had attracted huge investments into the sugar sector under its Backward Integration Programme.

He said, “The Federal Government, through the National Sugar Development Council is committed to building 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.

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“In our resolve to address the dearth of qualified indigenous manpower and professionals to drive the sugar industry, we established the now famous Nigeria Sugar Institute in Ilorin, Kwara state.

“The Institute has commenced the training of young Nigerian graduates both in field and factory operations through an exchange programme with famous sugar institutes like the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur, India as well as the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, in Mauritius.

“It is indeed gratifying to state here that Nigeria has since surpassed its sugar refining capacity, and our immediate action plan as a forward-thinking agency of government is to replicate the successes achieved in the area of refining in field operations, which we all know is the heart of the backward integration programme.”

He said the Council is working towards boosting local production of the commodity to meet local demands and possible export in the years ahead.

“In my last meeting with our major operators, we all agreed to focus more attention on the BIP component of the NSMP.

“So, we have resolved to match words with action, especially as it relates to meeting set targets and timelines. We are racing against time and would no longer entertain excuses from our operators on fulfilling their own part of the bargain.

“Sugar BIP was adopted as a Special Presidential Project which implied a renewed interest, focus and oversight of the Presidency on the perogramme,”he added.

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