Nigeria’s sugar backward integration policy attracts N250 billion investment – Adedeji

Nigeria is making steady and good progress in implementing its policy roadmap for the sugar sector as contained in the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), Zacch Adedeji, Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) said.

The NSMP is an ambitious 10-year plan 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 the government’s strategic roadmap for the development of the sugar sub-sector. The actual implementation started in 2013.

Adedeji, in a press release, said the industry had attracted more than N250 billion in investment through its backward integration program in seven years of the initiative, even as more investors expressed their willingness to commit more resources to the sector.

It was only recently that 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.

KIA Group now joins existing industry players such as Dangote Group, BUA Group and Flour Mills to pilot the BIP component of NSMP.

“The new owner aims to produce at least 300,000 metric tons of sugarcane, refine around 204,000 metric tons of the sweet commodity and aim for N46 billion in revenue by 2027.”

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He further added that a workforce of around 20,000 employees would be hired to drive the company towards optimum production and ensure the country’s economic growth.

Similarly, another major industry player, Flour Mills Limited, recently signed a multi-million dollar deal with the Nasarawa State Government to build a mill at Toto LGA. The new project comes on top of the company’s N50 billion Golden Sugar in Sunti, Niger State.

According to the statement signed by Ahmed Waziri, the Director of the Office of the Executive Secretary, Adedeji reaffirmed the government’s desire to build a globally competitive sugar industry that would boost the local economy, provide jobs for the large young population of Nigeria and would position Nigeria as a net exporter of the commodity.

He said the council, in its wisdom, recently convened a roundtable bringing together key stakeholders to deliberate and share views on the challenges associated with the importation of equipment and machinery by some operators.

The meeting brought together stakeholders from the Nigeria Customs Service, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as members of the organized private sector. The forum then deliberated and adopted small, cost-effective measures that would address government and operator concerns.

Rachel J. Bradford