NIGERIA – The Federal Government has inaugurated a N45 billion integrated, state-of-the-art sugar project in Sunti, Niger State. The project, wholly owned by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, (FMN) and comprising a 16,500 hectare sugarcane estate and mill, is part of the Ministry of Industry and Investment’s approved Backward Integration Programme (BIP) for the production of local sugar in line with the provisions of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
Already, the company has invested N16 billion while the entire project is expected to be completed and commissioned before the end of 2016.
When completed, the project is expected to produce 100, 000 metric tons of sugar annually; create 15,000 direct and indirect jobs, generate 10MW of electricity, produce animal feed and fertilizer as a by-product and save the country over $50million yearly in foreign exchange.
Speaking during the inauguration on Tuesday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said the event represented a major milestone in President Goodluck Jonathan’s economic diversification efforts.
Aganga noted that the implementation of the NSMP was an integral part of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
The Minister said: “Today is another historic day as it represents another milestone in the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan, an integral part of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), which was launched by our President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in line with his transformation agenda.
“As part of the NIRP, we have developed the National Sugar Master Plan as one of the sector-specific policies to diversify the Nigerian economy because we were importing about 97 per cent of the sugar we consume in this country when we can produce sugar from sugarcane. Also, from the raw materials of producing sugar, we can generate electricity, produce ethanol and animal feeds.”
The Chairman, Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, John Coumantaros, commended President Jonathan and Aganga for initiating and implementing the new Sugar Policy, adding that the company would continue to take advantage of government’s investment-friendly policies and incentives to invest more in the country.
“He said: “Today is a proud day for us. We are proud because we have been able to invest and build something out of nothing because of the Federal Government’s new Sugar Policy.
However, due recognition must be given to President Jonathan and Minister Aganga for their courage and commitment in initiating the sugar policy and staying the course with its implementation.”