Nigeria’s dream of becoming self-sufficient in sugar production is soon to be realised, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between Dangote Sugar Group, and the Nasarawa state Government, in an epoch making venture for a $700m sugar project that is unprecedented in the history of the country.
The signing ceremony of the deed of acquisition, lease and development agreement took place at the National Sugar Development Council, Sugar House, Abuja.
President/Chief Executive, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, said the integrated sugar complex to be located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, comprises 60,000ha sugar plantation and two sugar factories with capacity to produce 430,000tpa of refined white sugar representing about 30% of the country’s consumption and would be the largest plant in Nigeria.
The sugar project would also provide 30,000 jobs for teaming youths in Nasarawa state.
The richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote said the Phase II of the project, when extended to cover 100,000ha will make the sugar plant, the largest in Africa.
Dangote Group has already committed the sum of N250m for community development of Tunga in line with its corporate social responsibility initiative to improve the people’s well-being.
He said the project is to further align Dangote Group with the present government’s policy of diversifying the economy, by a renewed focus on the non-oil sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and solid minerals, where the group is already well-positioned and is a leader.
“Agriculture is a key sector in the industrialisation of any nation, therefore, Dangote Group in support of the Federal Government transformation agenda in agriculture developed a sugar backward integration project plan targeted at the production of 1.5MT/PA from various sites across Nigeria, in 10 years.
“We are acquiring about 150,000 hectares for sugar plantation in Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi and Niger states.
“However, we intend only to concentrate on Adamawa, Taraba and Nasarawa states in the phase I of the sugar project with a target to produce about 1.08m tons of white sugar in the next five years”.
Aside the over 100,000 employment opportunities that will be generated from the sugar plantations in addition to job creation, sugar sufficiency and the extended values chain, the group will establish integrated sugar mills, generate electricity, produce animal feeds amongst others.
Meanwhile, Nasarawa state is also to benefit from rice mills by the end of this year.
In his speech, Governor, Nasarawa state, Tanko Al-Makura, said the giant multi-billion naira investment by Dangote is a significant milestone in the history of the people, the state and Nigeria in general.
He commended Aliko Dangote, who was conferred with the title of Jarman Tunga by the royal father of Tunga community, Alhaji Bala Ibrahim Galadima, for the gesture which will remain indelible in the minds of the people of Nasarawa.
In his welcome address, Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif D. Busari, expressed hope that the sugar agreement contains clauses that would shield its execution from political interference from which most projects suffered in recent times.
Culled from Thisday