The federal government has revealed its plan to be the biggest producer of sugar on the African continent in the next ten year and generate power from ethanol.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Mr. Zach Adedeji, said the country is rolling out a-10 year masterplan aimed at massive increment in sugar production that would make Nigeria satisfy the sugar need of Africa continent.
Adedeji said: “The Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), a 10-year road map policy that seeks to meaningfully revitalise the once vibrant sugar sub-sector and make Nigeria one of the leading sugar-producing nations within the continent, was first initiated in 2012. It is an ambitious and well-thought-out policy framework for the sector, which seeks to bring about a complete overhaul to enable Nigeria to become self-sufficient in sugar production, create direct and indirect jobs, generate electricity, become a notable global sugar producer, and produce ethanol for industrial use.”
He added that: “I must say that we are quite pleased with the tremendous successes we’ve recorded with regard to the refining of imported raw sugar. In fact, Nigeria has since met its raw sugar refining capacity, which is commendable. But like I’ve always stated, the successes we’ve achieved in the area of raw sugar refining must be replicated in our BIP project, which is a major component of the NSMP and has the capacity to tackle rising unemployment and also address other socio-economic challenges facing the country.”
He admitted that Nugeria can only celebrate as a sector if it is able to grow cane and produce raw sugar locally. “I know it’s a tough job, but we are more than ready to achieve our target objectives given our commitment and efforts. Also, within the first 10 years of the NSMP, we’ve been able commission a multi-billion dollar sugar factory and estate in Sunti, Niger state, creation of over one million direct and indirect jobs, the takeoff of the moribund Nigeria’s foremost sugar company Bacita, Kwara state, and several other landmark feats recorded in the last 10 years in the sugar sector.
“It is a known fact that the nation’s sugar sector has witnessed some significant reforms in the last 10 years. The sector is now well regulated, roles of stakeholders are clearly defined, formulation of enabling laws and policies to aid growth and heavy reliance on modern technology to drive the process,” he said.
He said going forward all the activities of council would solely be driven by research, data, innovation and modern technology, adding that the Nigeria Sugar Institute located in Ilorin, Kwara state would assist in the sugar revolution.
He noted that with the federal government’s approval of the commencement of phase two of the NSMP, with actual implementation to begin this year through 2033, there is going to be turnaround in the fortune of the country which would lead it to the summit of sugar production on the continent and creating massive employment for the citizens and generating electricity through sugar for the populace.
Adedeji said “this is an ambitious and well-thought-out move that will drive and revamp the sector in order to restore Nigeria’s lost glory as far as sugar production in the continent is concerned. Raw sugar quota allocation would be given based on the performance of BIP operators and not based on the size of their refineries. We’ve communicated this to our stakeholders, especially the operators. In fact, we even made them to sign recommitment forms for the BIP, indicating that they are ready to act in line with the new order put in place by the Council. It is not a witch-hunt, but a deliberate and well thought-out measure to accelerate our drive to self sufficiency in sugar production.”