By Jonathan Eze
Five years after the federal government, through the National Sugar Development Council, formally began the implementation the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan, the overall investments in the sugar sector of the national economy have risen to N157 billion.
Â This was disclosedÂ by the Executive Secretary of the Council, Dr. Latif Busari, in his presentation during this yearâ€™s sugar sensitisation workshop held in Dutse, Jigawa State. Â
The workshop was aimed at stakeholders in the sugar sub-sector in the Northern region with theme â€˜Revising the NSMP Implementation modalities for the achievement of national self-sufficiency in sugarâ€™.
Â Busari said the essence of the gathering was to review impact of the policy on efforts to boost sugar production.
Â He disclosed that a 50,000 tonnes per annum sugar estate at Sunti, had been established, and that over 7000 new jobs had been created by all the three local refineries in the country, namely Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, BUA Sugar Refinery and Golden Sugar Company.
Â According to him, with new policy in place and projection, total sugar production was put at 777.150mt with anticipated jobs put at 50,000.
Â Speaking at the event, the chairman of the occasion and President, Jigawa State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Shehu Sanusi, said the Nigeria sugar industry had numerous benefits that should be harnessed for the country’s overall development.Â
While calling on government to create the enabling environment that would attract investors to the sector, Alhaji Sanusi urged governments at various levels to increase budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector as a way of addressing rising unemployment especially among the youths.Â