NIGERIAThe National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to creating job and diversifying the economy through the implementation of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

The Executive Secretary of the council, Dr Latif Busari, said in Abuja on Wednesday that it had the support of the present administration to implement the master plan.

The sugar master plan, which was launched in 2013, is aimed at generating nearly 170,000 new jobs nationwide.

“An industry like the sugar industry that has the potential to generate a lot of jobs. (There) is no responsible government (that) will not want to go on with it once it is convinced that the programme we are trying to implement is doable. 

This is a government that has made economic diversification one of its areas of focus,” he said.

“Everybody knows that agriculture and manufacturing are critical to that, and the sugar industry is sitting on both. You have the agriculture end and the manufacturing end. All the support that we need to have, we are getting from the Federal Government; we are going on with our work.“

The master plan is also designed to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production, conserve $350 million annually in foreign exchange and generate 400 mw of electricity for the country, among other things.

According to Busari, some key provisions of the policy have been captured in the gazetted NSDC Amendment Act, 2015, thus guaranteeing its continuity.

“In terms of sustainability, something we did is to ensure that some of the key provisions of the master plan are captured in our new amended law. We were able to get the law amended before the 7th National Assembly left. In fact it has been gazetted now,” he said.  

“Some major provisions of the master plan in terms of our funding, in terms of the continuity of the implementation of the NSMP are captured there. That’s some bit of legislation now, making it more difficult to wave or change them because you may not like a law but you have to continue to operate it until it is changed.

“But we have not even had any issue of anybody asking that the policy be set aside or whatever. We are still going ahead with the implementation apace. We are just waiting for our minister whom we can then properly brief to have his own input into the modalities for implementing the programme.”