Nigeria attracts N480bn investment for sugar production
In line with the country’s desire to grow the industrial sector, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has said the country attracted $3 billion (about N480 billion) investment into the sugar sector since the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
The approval of the NSMP by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the 19th September 2012 had raised the country’s profile, making it to rank among the top five exporters of sugar in Africa.
Aganga, who spoke yesterday during the ministerial press briefing to mark the end of the 2013 series, also noted that the gains made through the development of the manufacturing sector had led to a reduction on the country’s dependence on oil and gas, saying N305 billion was generated from non-oil export within the first quarter of 2013.
However, the figure was at variance with the official Merchandise Trade Report by the National Bureau of Statistics, which put the total earning from non-crude oil exports at N421.47billion during the period under review.
The minister said the FDI inflows of $7.03 billion was rated the first in Africa in 2012, explaining that the country was targeting production of 1.7 metric tonnes of sugar per annum.
He said: “Nigeria is among the top five importers of sugar and only produces about three per cent of domestic consumption. However, on the 19th September 2012, the FEC approved the NSMP and implementation commenced January 2013.
“NSMP has stimulated Investment of $3 billion thus far. NSMP is targeting the production of 1.7 metric tonnes of sugar; creation of 117,181 direct jobs; generation of 411.7 megawatts of electricity; total forex saving of up to $565.8 million annually from savings from sugar production and fuel importation.”
The minister said history had shown that no country became rich by exporting raw materials without also having an industrial sector.
He, however, said there had been significant improvements in Nigeria’s balance of trade with reduced importation and increased export value.
“The country recorded a 43 per cent decline in imports between 2011 and 2012, resulting in savings of about N4.2 trillion in foreign exchange.
“In first quarter 2013, industry contributed 66.9 per cent of the federal government’s non-oil earnings. Import as a percentage of total trade fell from 35.7 per cent in 2011 to 20 per cent in 2012,” he added.
In order to boost industrialisation and create wealth, the minister said the federal government had developed the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.
Continuing, Aganga said: “It is our nation’s first comprehensive, integrated, and strategic roadmap to industrialisation. The NIRP has identified strategic industry groups where Nigeria already has comparative advantage, with a view to increase capacity and production in the near to mid-term. We are vigorously implementing the backward integration policy used in the cement industry in other sectors.”
On the development of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, the minister said the federal government had developed the National Enterprise Development Programme.
Called from: Thisday Newspaper, Thursday, 31st July, 2013.