Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has declared its commitment to the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) of the Federal Government to reverse the trend and make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production. Mr John Beverley, General Manager of the Dangote Sugar BIP, disclosed this when members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly visited its site in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area. The Dangote Group is the biggest private sector investor in the BIP of the Federal Government, which is aimed at gradually halting the importation of sugar into the country. It will be recalled that in 2017 the Dangote Industries Limited signed a landmark 700 million dollars Memorandum of Understanding with the Nasarawa State Government. Beverly said that the factory would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tons cane per day (tcd) with a 90MW power generated for both the company and host communities use. He said also that 500km of roads would be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity. He solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers. Beverley said the company has been carrying out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in the communities. He pointed out that so far the company has constructed boreholes, schools, Clinic and awarded scholarships.
He added that the company’s investments in sugar would revolutionalise the economy of the state and uplift the standard of living of its people. He assured the lawmakers that by the time the company fully completes the in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved of more than half of the forex expended on sugar imports annually. The state lawmakers, who were obviously excited at the sugar projects, commended the Dangote Group for the choice of the state for the project. They also applauded it for the accelerated pace of execution of the project in spite of occasional delays arising from communal disagreements. Mr Ibrahim Abdullah, Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, said that the 500 million dollars so far expended on the project in the state is not only a blessing to Nigeria but the pride of Africa. The Speaker and his team, who were conducted round the company’s 78,000 hectares, commended the Chairman of the Company, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for the project.
The Speaker said he was taken aback by the huge nature of the investment, noting that it would not only open up opportunities in the state but in Africa as a whole.
The Speaker said the lawmakers were ready to support the company towards the realisation of the sugar project through relevant legislations.
According to him, the news that the project will create about 150,000 jobs is a welcome one, more so that the project site is once a forest harbouring criminal. Also, the General Manager, Government and Stakeholders Relations, Mr Bello Dan-Musa, said the President of Dangote Group is passionate about lifting Nigeria’s economy through strategic investment and job creation. He added that the huge project does not only fit into the BIP and National Sugar Master Plan, but also the diversification agenda of the government. The integrated sugar complex to be located in Tunga comprises of an initial 60,000ha sugar plantation and two sugar factories with capacity to produce 430,000tpa of refined white sugar representing about 30 per cent of the country’s consumption.(NAN)