FG is committed to achieving self-sufficiency in sugar production, says NSDC boss

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr. Zacch Adedeji, said the Federal Government has put in place the necessary policies and programs that will accelerate Nigeria’s drive to achieve self-sufficiency in production. of sugar, as outlined in the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

Adedeji, however, urged potential and current investors in sugar manufacturing to line up in the master plan so that their investments are not wasted.

Adedeji said he has what it takes to become a major player in the global sugar sector during a working visit to Lafiagi Sugar Company (LASUCO), owned by BUA Group, Lafiagi in the government area Edu local from Kwara State.

He reaffirmed the need for key players in the industry to redouble their efforts, especially with regard to the faithful implementation of the Forward Integration Program (PIF) in the sugar sector.

He added that now is the time for the sector to replicate the successes it has had in refining raw sugar in the agricultural side of the sugar industry, which he says is the foundation of sugar production.

According to him, “The sugar sector is undoubtedly a vital aspect of our national economy that holds enormous opportunities for Nigeria and Nigerians.

“It is a sector with profitable investments as evidenced by the number of investors currently doing business in the industry. We are indeed very interested in helping to create jobs and provide employment opportunities for our youth population.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to address the particular challenges of the sector including floods, smuggling, currency shortage and insecurity to make it more attractive to global investors globally, and underscored the need for sugar industry players to operate within the guidelines and regulations contained in the NSMP.

Adedeji believed that “the government is committed to building a sugar sector that will boost the economy, provide jobs for our youth and become a net exporter of the commodity.

“We are aware of some of the challenges facing the sector. We know what the issues are, and that’s why I keep stressing the need for sugar operators, especially those involved in our BIP program, to provide us with ways to help them overcome these challenges.

“The government is putting in place modalities to ensure that the sugar environment is conducive to investment,” he said.

“The sugar sector has attracted over N250 billion in investment over the past five years. We in the sector are quite optimistic and ready to translate our policies into tangible achievements. The Nigerian sugar industry has been well repositioned to meet the aspirations of interested parties”.

For his part, Senior Managing Director of Lafiagi Sugar Company, Lafiagi, Mr. Abdulrasheed Olayiwola said that the company is working tirelessly to ensure the completion of its sugar project so that it can start full operations.

“We are working hard to quickly complete our project here in Lafiagi. Our vision as a people-centric business conglomerate is to use our material and immaterial resources to touch and positively impact lives”.

Olayiwola also said that around 220,000 metric tons of sugar would be produced for Nigerians by the company when completed.

He said the business is nearing completion and has gobbled up billions of naira but would provide 10,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs.

He pointed out that the company has set aside about 20,000 hectares of land for the cultivation of sugar cane for the production of sugar, noting that the company has already planted 10,000 hectares of sugar cane to meet the existing needs of the company.

Olayiwola said the company had dilapidated infrastructure and other existing structures at the site when BUA acquired the company in 2014.

“But now the business has been expanded to meet existing needs and that has added a lot of value to the growth of the business.

“We grew the business significantly with all the different sections of the business having reached over 90% completion.

“We have been working with the NSCDC master plan to make sure it meets the global standard to improve our capacity and production capabilities.

“The company has also set up all the infrastructure for incoming workers like well-developed estates, health, education, roads among others to make the workers who will be employed to stimulate the optimal production of the company “, did he declare.

Olayiwola felt that the business involved the people of Lafiagi in the development of the business.

He listed funds, community disputes, skills, among others, as the main challenges facing the company.

Meanwhile, the Emir of Lafiagi, Alhaji Mohammed-Kudu Kawu, has assured the management of Lafiagi Sugar Company of his support in order to enhance the city and other areas of Kwara State.

Rachel J. Bradford