With a national annual import of more than US$337mn, the management of Dangote Sugar Refinery has declared its irrevocable commitment to the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) of the Federal Government to reverse the trend and make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production
The company which is committing more than US$700mn to its sugar projects told visiting members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly at the weekend that the company’s investments in sugar will revolutionalise the economy of the state and lift its people as other people-oriented infrastructures would come with the sugar projects.
The state lawmakers who were excited at the sugar projects commended the Dangote Group for choice of the state for the project and the accelerated pace with which the project was being executed despite occasional delays arising from communal disagreements.
Nigeria is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest importers of sugar second only to South Africa, but the Dangote Sugar management assured the lawmakers that by the time the company fully completes its sugar projects in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved of more than half of the forex expended on sugar imports annually.
John Beverley, general manager for the Backward Integration Project, Dangote Sugar, said when the factory is fully operational, it would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tonnes of cane per day (tcd), while 90MW power will be generated for both the company’s use and host communities.
He disclosed also that some 500km roads in all will be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity, even as he solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers.
The Dangote Group is the biggest private sector investor in the Backward Integration Policy of the Federal Government. The policy seeks to gradually halt the importation of sugar into the country.
It would be recalled that in 2017 the Dangote Industries Limited signed a landmark US$700mn Memorandum of Understanding with the Nasarawa State Government.
The integrated sugar complex to be located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, comprises an initial 60,000ha sugar plantation and two sugar factories with the 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.
When phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it would make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.