Abuja – The Federal Government has commenced the implementation of the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) in the sugar industry with the approval of the plans and projects by three sugar refineries in Nigeria.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, performed the signing-off ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday with the representatives of Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Group and Golden Sugar Refinery.

The Federal Executive Council had on Oct. 19, 2012, approved the Nigerian National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

The NSMP is expected to generate about 170,000 new jobs across the country, ensure self sufficiency in sugar production, and conserve about $350 million annually in foreign exchange.

According to the plan, the sugar industry is also expected to produce about 1,797,000 tonnes of the commodity annually.

Also, about 161.2 million litres of ethanol to be produced would generate 400 MW of electricity, among others.

Aganga said the signing-off ceremony marked the beginning of the nation’s journey toward sound industrialisation, in line with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan.

“Today is the demonstration that the implementation of the Backward Integration Policy in the Sugar industry, which is a critical part of National Sugar Master Plan, has started.”

The minister commended the sugar refiners for keying into the new Sugar Master Plan.

He said the Federal Government was committed to implementing the policy in a fair, transparent and mutually-beneficial manner.

He expressed delight that since the new sugar policy was announced sugar refiners had shown commitment toward its implementation.

He said the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, had made some pronouncements on the company’s intention to invest about $2 billion (about N316bn) to produce about 1.5 million tonnes of sugar.

“Currently, they are discussing with Adamawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Sokoto and Taraba states.

“If this is successfully implemented, you will be amazed by the level of economic transformation that will take place in these states.

“Similarly, Golden Sugar Refinery plans to produce about 30 tonnes of sugar from about 13, 500 hectares of land in Niger State with an investment of close to N50 billion,” he said.

He commended Dangote Group, BUA Group and the Golden Sugar Refinery for showing commitment to the BIP, stressing that an inter-ministerial committee would be set up to monitor its implementation.

The representative of Dangote Group, Mr Joseph Makoju, stated the willingness of the companies to work with the Federal Government to ensure the successful implementation of the policy.

“We want to commend the minister for his relentless efforts toward making Nigeria the preferred investment destination in Africa and globally.

“We are happy with the minister’s passion and commitment for supporting local production as against importation.

“The BIP in the sugar industry will move Nigeria away from the era of importing bulk of raw sugar to that of producing sugar locally,” he said. (NAN)

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