Yesterday, the Pan African Conglomerate, Dangote Group took another bold move for self-sufficiency in sugar production through the Nigerian government’s backward integration policy. The group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger State Government for the establishment of a jumbo $450million state-of–art and fully integrated sugar complex.
According to the President of the Group, Aliko Dangote, this investment was informed by his company’s firm belief in the potential of the Nigerian economy, adding that the new outlay will add value and create jobs for Nigerians. The project will generate over 15,000 jobs in the state and bring about a complete economic turn-around for the state.
While commending the state governor, Alh. Abubakar Sani Bello for his foresight and efforts to woo investors to Niger state, Dangote said that “Dangote’s Integrated Sugar Project in Niger State will also include the establishment of integrated sugar mills, generate power, produce molasses, ethanol fuel, biomass and produce animal feeds.”
The $450million pact, which was signed in the government house, will see the company producing raw sugar cane on 16,000 hectares of land at Lavun Local Government through an out-grower scheme. The Group, which is currently operating the out-grower scheme in rice production in a number of states, has Africa’s largest sugar refinery in Lagos and a sugar cane plantation in Numan, Adamawa State. This pact will also further increase the company’s capacity in sugar production.
According to the Governor, this deal will revolutionize agriculture in Niger state and Nigeria. He also expressed his joy that the MoU was signed during his own administration and described Dangote as the liberator of the Nigerian economy and a dependable partner. The Governor then urged the Group to explore other investment opportunities available in the state, just as he announced that the state is open to multi-sectoral investments.
A representative of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Alhaji Aminu Bisala said Dangote is the biggest private sector supporter of the Nigerian economy and federal government policies. He also said the federal government was comfortable with the numerous investment efforts of the Dangote Group.
Group Managing Director of Dangote Sugar Plc, Engr. Abdullahi Sule said the integrated sugar mills will have the capacity to produce 160,000MT of raw sugar. He further revealed that the Dangote Sugar Refinery is developing a sugar backward integration plan through the production of 1.5MT/PA in ten years in Nasarawa, Adamawa, Kogi, Kwara, Taraba and Niger states respectively.
It would be recalled that the Dangote Group ventured into the sugar business in 1981. It has injected over $104million into the Savannah Sugar Company Limited it acquired from the government in 2003. This year alone, Savannah Sugar produced 20,000MT of raw sugar from its plantation.