NIGERIA – Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) Plc has unveiled plans to generate not less than 100,000 jobs and 1.5 million metric tonnes of locally refined sugar in its 10-year master plan for self-sufficiency in sugar production in Nigeria.

Under the strategy, the first phase, which runs through a five year period, according to the Acting Group Managing Director of the company, Abdullahi Sule, would involve the selection and development of five areas in the country which include a 32 hectares of land in savannah, Adamawa state, Taraba, Jigawa, Kogi, and Kebbi state, while the second phase also involved the expansion of savanna and rehabilitation of Guyuk Greenfield in Adamawa state.

Addressing stockbrokers during the Facts Behind the Figures of the company at the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos on Tuesday, Sule stressed that aside job creation, the 10-year master plan, when completed, would boost backward integration, discourage the importation of sugar and increase the nation’s revenue base through exportation of other products from cane extracts.

“Out of the 1.7 metric tones government, we decided to do 1.5 metric tonnes , instead of importing raw sugar from Brazil, and refining them here, we go to various sites in Nigeria, already identified by agency of government of Nigeria in order for us to produce these sugar here in Nigeria from cane like other countries have done so that the challenges we are having with gas will not be there, the challenges with foreign exchange will not be there and it would create job opportunities and produce ethanol.

“For the 1.5 metric tonnes that we agreed to do out of 1.7 (metric tonnes), we decided to select five sites one of the site is the savanna 32 hectare of land in Adamawa, another site is in Taraba, we look at other site in Jigawa and kogi, Kebbi and decided that on these sites, we should produce 1.5 metric tonnes of sugar we will 150,000 hectares for cultivation per an nun.

From these areas, we can generate130 million ethanol, power, employment and animal feeds.”

To fund the projects, Sule explained that the company would expend about N106 billion on the project, adding that 20 per cent of the fund would be raised through equity.

“Dangote sugar remains a zero debt company. In the first 3 years of the project, we would spend about N106 billion and the board members have decided that 20per cent would be raised through equity and by the end of this year, we will be able to fund the N20 billion but it is taking us time to decide whether it is through extra ordinary general meeting or through loan. The company is still in a position to borrow and still pay dividend.” He said.

He added that the company posted a turnover of N169.72 billion in its 2016 operations, higher than against N101.06 billion achieved in the corresponding period 2015 while profit after tax also rose from N11.14 billion to N14.39 billion during the period under review.

Also speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of the NSE, Oscar Onyema commended the firm on the resilience and improved performance, year on year, amid harsh operating environment.

Onyema, who was represented by the Executive Director, Business Development, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, at the occasion, noted that DSR has risen to become one of the dominant players in the consumer goods sector of economy.

He assured that the exchange would continue to position itself as the African exchange of choice for issuers and listed firms to boost investors’ confidence and provide platform to support listed firms’ and corporates to meet their strategic business objectives.

Meanwhile, the dream of establishing a sugar producing company in Taraba state has finally came to reality as both the state government and Dangote Group of companies signed a contract of agreement.

Though thirty-six thousand hectares of land was said to have been earmarks for the Sugar company, the company according to the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the state, Yusufu Nya Akinkwen said that the phase one of the project would commence with over 15000 hectares.

While Akirinkwen signed the said contract agreement which have been dragging for the past thirteen years on behalf of the state government, Joseph Makojun whom The Guardian learnt was a Special Adviser to Alhaji Aliko Dangote signed on behalf of the Company.

Speaking the state governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, said the state government would give the company all the needed helping hands to triumph in the state, warning the people of the community to desist from acts that would frustrate the company.

Stressing that all the “ encumbrances” trying to frustrate the company in the past have “ been removed” the company, as stated by Ishaku “ is coming to develop our state and develop us.”

The governor who is bent on ensuring that the company sees the light of the day, said part of the contract agreements is to carry the people of the community whose lands have been acquired along.

Noting that “ there is a huge deposits off fertile lands for the farming of sugar and rice” he called on the people of the affected community to extend the much needed olive branch to the company adding that “ make sure you do not worry Dangote.”

To facilitate the take off of the company, the ongoing construction work on the road leading to the administrative headquarters of Lau from Kona village in Jalingo metropolis, governor said would soon be completed.

The governor who further observed that company would avail the state a lot of opportunities said a lot can be achieve from sugar stating that “ from sugar you can always make ethanol.”

For those who are yet to be compensated, the governor urged the to exercise patients as relevant paths are being tread to ensured that they are adequately compensated.

On his own part, the CEO of the company through his representative, said the company can no longer wait to commence activities in the site as modalities for the take off, according to him, have been put in place.

May 3, 2017: Guardian