Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga
James Emejo â€¨
About $3.1 billion (N490 billion) is required to transform the Nigerian sugar industry into a self-sufficient and export driven sector, according to a Master Plan which was made public Monday
According to the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its 37th meeting in September, the entire amount is to be provided by private sector investors.
In addition, about N5 billion is expected to be raised annually by public sector agencies through accruals from the sugar levy within the initial five to six-year plan period.
Speaking in Abuja at a forum on the Master Plan aimed at transforming the industry into a world class outfit, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr. Abdul-lateef Demola Musari, said the implementation of the Plan is expected to end sugar importation within 10 years, during which the country would have attained self-sufficiency.
He said the proposed sugar levy, designed mainly for the development of the sector, would be effective within the initial seven years of the plan.
He said: “Once the sufficiency plan goal envisioned in the plan is attained, the approved tariff template will no longer be applicable, as it is designed to terminate with the Master Plan period.”
Musari said the country did not need anymore sugar refineries or importation of refined sugar was about 2.2 metric tons of sugar is currently being produced in the country.
He said fiscal tariffs would be introduced to discourage importation as well as restrict entrance of new players.
Also speaking at the occasion, Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, expressed displeasure that despite the take over of the sugar sector by private investors, like Dangote, sugar was still being imported into the country.
The minister said it had become worrisome to government that the country which was supposed to be exporting sugar by virtue of its competitive advantage was still relying heavily on importation of refined sugar and raw materials.
He said government would intensify efforts to develop a vibrant sugar industry, noting that no economy could develop without a strong industrial base.
Meanwhile, while the private sector is expected to provide monetary and technical expertise for the actualisation of the Plan.
The government would be required to create a conducive policy environment including fiscal incentives among other things.
The Federal Government considers sugar as the third most important commodity after rice and wheat in its strategic food policy.
As a result, effective from January 1, 2013, sugar sector investors would benefit from a various incentives already approved by the FEC.