By Ismail Abdulaziz
Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has declared its commitment to the Federal Government’s Backward Integration Policy (BIP) to turn the tide and make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production.
Mr. John Beverley, managing director of Dangote Sugar BIP, revealed this when members of the Nasarawa State Assembly visited his site in Tunga, in the Awe local government area.
The Dangote Group is the largest private sector investor in the federal government’s PIF, which aims to phase out the importation of sugar into the country.
It should be recalled that in 2017, Dangote Industries Limited signed a landmark $ 700 million Memorandum of Understanding with the Nasarawa State Government.
Beverly said the plant would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tonnes of cane per day (tcd) with 90 MW of power produced for both the company and the host communities.
He also revealed that 500 km of roads would be built to facilitate transportation in the surrounding area.
He sought the support of lawmakers to control the threat of land encroachment by settlers and shifting farmers.
Beverley said the company is running corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in communities.
He pointed out that so far the company has built boreholes, schools, a clinic and awarded scholarships.
He added that the company’s investments in sugar would revolutionize the state’s economy and improve the standard of living of its people.
He assured lawmakers that by the time the company fully completes activities in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved from more than half of the forex spent annually on sugar imports.
State lawmakers, clearly enthusiastic about the sugar projects, congratulated the Dangote group on the state’s choice for the project.
They also applauded him for speeding up the pace of project execution despite occasional delays due to communal disagreements.
Mr. Ibrahim Abdullah, Speaker of the Nasarawa State Assembly, said the $ 500 million spent so far on the project in the state is not only a blessing for Nigeria but the pride of Africa.
The President and his team, who traveled the 78,000 hectares of the company, congratulated the President of the company, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on the project.
The President said he was taken aback by the huge nature of the investment, noting that it would open up opportunities not only in the state but also in Africa as a whole.
The president said lawmakers were ready to support the company in carrying out the sugar project through relevant legislation.
He said the news that the project will create around 150,000 jobs is welcome, especially since the project site was once a forest for criminals.
In addition, the Director General of Government and Stakeholder Relations Mr. Bello Dan-Musa said that the Chairman of Dangote Group is passionate about reviving the Nigerian economy through strategic investments and establishing jobs.
He added that the huge project was not only part of the PIF and the National Sugar Master Plan, but also the government’s diversification program.
The integrated sugar complex to be located in Tunga includes an initial sugar plantation of 60,000 ha and two sugar factories with a capacity of 430,000 tpa of refined white sugar representing about 30% of the country’s consumption. (NOPE)
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