Investments in Sugar Sector hit N157 Billion – NSDC

Barely five years after the federal government formally drew up the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), overall investments in the sugar sector of the national economy has risen to N157 Billion.

Executive Secretary for the National Sugar Development Council, Dr  Latif Busari  stated this in Calabar yesterday while giving an overview of sugar production in the country at the National Sugar Development Council’s  sensitization workshop on Nigerian Sugar Master plan for stakeholders in the sugar sub-sector.

Busari  stated that investment in that sector  needs about N157bn to enable the sector function effectively.

Speaking on the theme: keeping the implementation of National sugar master plan on track for sugar self sufficiency The executive secretary told media men that the workshop is aimed at sensitizing major players in the industry, in the sugar production value chain, review what impact the policy has made and perhaps make effort to boost sugar production in the south south region region.

Busari stressed that  50,000 tons per annum sugar estate at Sunti, has been  set up, with  over 7000 new jobs created by  three local refineries in the country to include, Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, BUA Sugar Refinery and Golden Sugar Company.

He said that with the jobs created unemployment and poverty would be a thing of the past and called on other business mongul in the country to come and invest in the area so that unemployment can be arrested so as to kick poverty out of the country.

He said that with a new policy put in place and projection, total sugar production is put at 777.150mt with anticipated Jobs at 50,000.

When asked to speak on the numerous challenges encountered, the executive secretary said that some of the challenges faced by stakeholders in the industry includes state governments unwillingness to allocate land  to investors in the sector in their respective states.

Other challenges were the unwilling attitudes of  local communities to allocate land to investors adding that even when the land is allocated to the investors, the land was allocated at an outrageous prices and appealed to state governments and local communities to support investors efforts.

The executive secretary   lamented on the  poor patronage of locally made sugar by Nigerians and called on Nigerians to see it as a point of duty to consume locally made good so as stop capital flight and encourage job creation for the sustenance of the already existing sugar firms in the country.

Also speaking at the ceremony,  chairman of Senate committee on Industries, Dr Sam Egwu who was being represented by  Senate committee chairman on Housing and Urban Development, Senator Barnabas Gemade, stated that after his committee carried out oversight functions at sugar refineries and related areas, they encouraged the sugar umpires to move on with determination to encourage entrepreneurs.

Germade maintained that  National Assembly has already  passed an enabling laws to boost local sugar production, and that federal government was charting new course in agriculture to bring about self I sufficiency, emphasising that the country should endeavour to reduce sugar imports.

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