- Importation of commodity threatening local production, says lawmaker
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The federal government has said latest investments by stakeholders and investors towards sugar self-sufficiency in Nigeria by 2023 is valued at about N157billion.
The Executive Secretary of National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr. Latif Busari, disclosed this thursday in Abuja at the mid-term review of the Implementation of National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
Busari, while presenting the status report on the implementation of the NSMP, spanning 2013 to 2016, said there was about 400 per cent increase in terms of projects but 80 per cent increase when it comes to Backward Integration Programme (BIP) with the federal government.
He also listed among the other key performance indicators, the establishment of a new 50,000tonnes/annum sugar estate at Sunti; 9,000ha of land under cane as at 2016 (250 per cent increase from 2013 when the plan commenced); and 481ha of out grower farms supplying cane to sugar estates (up from 81ha in 2013) (600 per cent increase).
He said the industry has created 7,850 jobs, up from a total of 3,500 employed by all the refineries as at 2013 (representing 224 per cent) with about 25,000MT of sugar delivered in the 2016 crushing season (up from 6,000MT recorded in 2013 season);
“Expansion of sugar cubing and packaging investments with five new packaged sugar brands introduced into the market; all the refineries established sugar packaging and/or cubing units while two new companies (McNichols and Dogan’s) began operations at this downstream segment of the sugar value chain, leading to the founding of a Packaged Sugar Producers Association of Nigeria (PSPAN),” he stated.
Speaking further, Busari said all the three major local refining companies that were signed in the federal government’s BIP in July 2013, including: Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, BUA Sugar Refinery Limited, and Golden Sugar Company, had 40.3 per cent performance average.
According to him, the new estate and factory established FMNL, Sunti, appears to be the key significant achievement under Phase 1 of BIP implementation.
He said: “Other expected developments particularly the expansion of factory operations at DSR’s Savannah Sugar Company, Numan, developments at Lau/Tau and installation of factory at BUA’s Lafiagi Sugar Company, all of which would have impacted positively on the local sugar production, dimmed the performance of the sector.”
The NSDC Executive Secretary, however, blamed the poor performance on some major challenges including constraints of land acquisitions/acess to land, elite interference, community hostility, communal disruption and conflicts with/in host community, incessant flooding of sugar estates, stealing and smuggling of sugar cubes.
As a way forward, Busari called the “release of revised guidelines for BIP performance evaluation and Raw Sugar Quota Administration; adoption of new monitoring templates for SURMIC and SIMOG; strict administration of sanctions for NSMP infractions; intervention by federal government with states and local governments on land and communal issues; and discussions with relevant MDAs on specific constraints viz: FMPW&H; NAFDAC; NCS among others.
He also called for collaboration between NSDC/NOA and sugar operators on the sensitisation of communities hosting sugar projects
Also speaking, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Industry, Hon. Abubakar Husaini Moriki, said: “Another issue that may threaten the realisation of 2023 target of the NSMP as observed during our routine engagements with the NSDC is the fact that in the last four to five years, those companies having exclusive right to import raw sugar for local refining have performed oprimally, to the extent that the import quota of between 1 million and 1.7 million metric tons per annum of raw sugar importation had been met 100 percent.”