The Federal Executive Council (FEC) announced the approval of the second phase of the National Sugar Master Plan at the FEC meeting held at house of council in Abuja, led over by the President, Muhammadu Buhari. Speaking to the media, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment asserts that the second phase of the sugar masterplan is a 10 year plan to save $350 million annually and generate 110,000 jobs in the country.
Mr. Adebayo stressed that in the second phase of the masterplan, Nigeria looks forward to saving $65.8 million on ethanol import and generating 400 megawatts of electricity and also targets the forex savings and job creation in the country. The investments in the national sugar policy were aimed at stimulating self-sufficiency in the commodities. Nigeria’s three million metric ton capacity is based on the refinement of raw sugar. Currently, we rely heavily on imported raw sugar, but phase two will allow us to become completely self-sufficient in raw sugar production in Nigeria.
Investors helped in the achievement of phase one main goal.
In 2012, the first phase of the master plan was approved, lasting from 2012 to 2022.The just approved extension of the project will last from 2023 to 2033. Given another 10 years to execute the main goals. The whole concept of the Sugar Master Plan is for the development of the sugar industry, for self-sufficiency in sugar production. Local production of sugar is one of the major benefits of the plan being implemented. Several policy measures are attached, in order to boost demand and attract private sector investments in the sugar industry.
Four major investors were involved in phase one of the Sugar Master plan, investing in the industry. These are Dangote Sugar, BUA Sugar, Golden Sugar Company (flour mill), and Care Africa Group which bought the Baccita sugar mill. The investors have jointly created 15,000 jobs and have about 200,000 hectares of land that has been acquired for sugarcane production to enable them to produce sugar locally. So, Council approved phase two of the National Sugar Masterplan.
Future plans need adequate monitoring framework.
Commenting on the target of the second phase, Adebayo said, since the launch of the masterplan, it has seen huge progress. The Backward Integration Project has started and has attracted over $3 billion worth of investments from the four major investors. Two-tier monitoring and evaluation framework are in place as a mechanism to guide the flow of the master plan. Some of which are: Sugar Roadmap Implementation Committee (SURMIC) a multi-agency committee, charged with supervision of the National Sugar Master Plan and Sugar Industry Monitoring Group (SIMOG) a group of the chief executives of all the local sugar manufacturing companies.
Chairman of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote asserts that the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) when executed as designed could fetch the nation foreign exchange in excess of $700million yearly from the Backward Integration component of the plan. He however warned that the BIP scheme must be protected to insulate the Nigerian economy to be able to achieve the twin objectives of local manufacturing and job creation. “If the national sugar master plan is followed strictly and the players all follow the rules, the country will be better for it as Nigeria will save between $600 million and $700 million annually as forex,” he said.
There is urgency for the need for stable sugar production.
Nigeria’s inability to have a stable sugar production industry has made the country lose out on the manufacturing of other core products like ethanol which is manufactured from excess sugar. As at 2019, at N400 per liter, Nigeria consumed about 400 million liters of ethanol, which means ethanol worth N160 billion is imported annually. These issues lend credence to the need for Nigeria to achieve the Sugar Master Plan as it will give the needed boost to sugar manufacturers to increase production and also, diversify the resource base for ethanol production.