The Federal Government on Tuesday entered into an agreement with three sugar refining companies for the production of 1.5 million metric tonnes of sugar annually.
The companies are Dangote Sugar, BUA Group and Golden Sugar Company.
The agreement, which was sealed at the headquarters of the National Sugar Development Council in the presence of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, will cover the second phase of the National Sugar Master Plan 2018 to 2023.
Under the pact, eight sugar refining sites, with a total land area of 187 hectares, will be covered based on the Backward Integration Plan of the Federal Government, while 1,550,524 metric tonnes per annum of sugar will be produced.
The number of jobs expected to be created based on the agreement is put at 65,805.
Speaking at the event, Enelamah said the plan would help to increase local sugar production and reduce the nation’ dependence on sugar imports.
He urged the companies to take the agreement seriously as the Federal Government would ensure that the impediments to the operating environment were addressed.
The minister said the plan of the government was to replicate the backward integration success recorded in the cement industry in the sugar sector.
“The whole sugar industry plan is extremely important for us as a nation. We want to replicate the success in the cement industry in the sugar sector,” he added.
The Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif Busari, said the council would ensure total compliance by the companies with the provisions of the agreement.
He explained that the council had already developed monitoring templates for the next phase of the NSMP.
Busari stated, “The refineries will sign on to the commitments, and what is required on the part of the refineries to meet the targets within the stated timelines is the deployment of resources and the necessary technical competences.
“Government, on the other hand, will address the identified constraints as appropriate, and ensure that their impact is minimised. Government will also ensure that the new guidelines for the BIP operators, which have been circulated, are adhered to by all.”
He said while the task ahead were enormous, the council would ensure that the expectations of the government for the sugar sub-sector were realised.