By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA- The Federal Government says it will save $56 million in foreign exchange by reducing sugar importation while targeting yearly 1.7 million tonnes of local production.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo said this in Abuja, while taking briefings from management of the National Sugar Development Council, NSDC.
The assured on government’s readiness to render more support to investors and other key players in the nation’s sugar industry, towards achieving sufficient industrial and domestic uses of the commodity.
He told the NSDC led by its Executive Secretary, Dr Latif Busari of the desire of the current administration of President Mohammadu Buhari to work with all stakeholders in the industry to address all its challenges.
He said that the Buhari administration had done a lot in the area of agriculture and non-oil sectors, stressing that sugar sufficiency would further support such initiatives.
The minister expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon be at par with nations like Brazil and Mauritius, who are current diversifying into ethanol energy production through modern sugar technology.
The minister added that government would also ensure full implementation of the ten-year national sugar master-plan adopted by the Federal Government in 2012.
Earlier, Dr Busari in his presentation had enumerated some achievements of the current administration in the industry, among which he said included job creation and industrialization.
He said that part of the plan was to create 114,000 jobs and produce 1.7 million tonnes of sugar annually.
The Executive Secretary also added that with reduced importation of sugar and increase in local production, about $56 million would be saved in foreign exchange.
He listed Dangote Sugar Industry, BUA International Group and Golden Sugar Company as the three major operators in the industry, accounting for about 99.8% of sugar in current use in the country.