By Yinka Kolawole
The backward integration programme under the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) has recorded a total of USD1 billion investments as at 2022.
The investments were made by three indigenous firms in sugar plantation and processing. The companies with the most prominent investments are BUA Foods Plc, Dangote Sugar (DSR) and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN).
The NSMP was approved in 2012 as a 10-year roadmap with the core objective of helping Nigeria achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production.
Speaking on the development, Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Zacch Adedeji, noted that although the objective of NSMP has not been fully achieved, significant progress has been made in that regard.
Recall that the Federal Government earlier this year extended the implementation phase of the sugar master plan by another ten years from 2023 to 2033 to ensure that intended aim is achieved.
Adedeji stated: “NSMP has nonetheless forced indigenous companies to significantly raise investments in backward integration programme (BIP) in sugar plantation farming and processing.
In addition to the three companies that have made the most significant investments in the BIP, Adedeji also disclosed that the other firm with significant investments is Saro Africa Group that recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nasarawa State government for a 15,000 hectares sugar project.
Sugar is part of the items which are ineligible to access foreign exchange directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose are on the list of prohibited or restricted imports.
Based on the CBN move, only BUA Sugar Refinery Ltd, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, and Golden Sugar Company can import sugar into the country after meeting their targets on local content.
The importation of raw sugar for local refining in Nigeria has been the primary source of distributed sugar in the country.