Nairametrics|  The federal government is very keen on pursuing the National Sugar Master Plan and encouraging investors to key into the agricultural sector Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Mrs Aisha Abubakar stated this recently. The master plan forms part of the National Industrial Revolution Plan. (NIRP). The NIRP itself is a major component of this administrations Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Background to the plan

The master plan was launched in 2013 by the Goodluck Jonathan administration and has a lifespan of 10 years. The objectives of the plan are to obtain self-sufficiency in sugar production, reduce the high level of importation, create huge number of job opportunities and increase the level of ethanol production and power generation. A fund to support industries in the sector was also launched. Tariffs on imported refined sugar were also increased.

Investors are keying into the plan

  • Dangote Sugar Plc plans to invest N106 billion over the next 6 years in its various backward integration projects. The company also intends raising N20 billion of this sum from the stock market in the nearest future.
  • Flourmills is also concluding arrangements to start operations of its sugar plantation in Suntil, Niger state.  BUA sugar is also working on its sugar refinery in Lafiagi, Kwara State.

A 2016 report by the Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) states that Nigeria’s per capita sugar consumption is 9.7kg  three times lower than the global average of 30kg. 2016/2017 consumption levels are expected to drop slightly due to lower consumer purchasing power and difficulties in accessing foreign exchange.

The Nigerian economy last year slipped into recession, the first in over 30 years, due to a crash in oil prices. The ensuing foreign exchange crisis lead to a reduction in the amount of fx available for manufacturers, who were forced to patronize a more expensive parallel market.  Brazil supplies over 70% of the nation’s raw sugar requirements making it the largest supplier.

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