By Onome Amuge
The backward integration programme under the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) has recorded a total of $1 billion investments as at 2022, led by BUA Foods Plc, Dangote Sugar (DSR) and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), according to the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC).
The Council, in a statement seen by Business a.m, said the investments were dominated by the three indigenous firms in sugar plantation and processing who also serve as leading producers of refined sugar in the country.
Zacch Adedeji, executive secretary of the NSDC,in his remark, noted that although the objective of the council has not been fully achieved, significant progress has been made in that regard.
“NSMP has nonetheless forced indigenous companies to significantly raise investments in backward integration programme (BIP) in sugar plantation farming and processing,” he said.
Adedeji also disclosed that in addition to the aforementioned companies that have made the most significant investments in the BIP, Saro Africa Group,another firm with significant investments in the sector, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nasarawa State government for a 15,000 hectares sugar project
As part of its efforts to reduce Nigeria’s sugar import bill, the federal government has listed among the items which are ineligible to access foreign exchange directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose are also on the list of prohibited imports.
However, BUA Sugar Refinery Ltd, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, and Golden Sugar Company were licensed to import sugar into the country following their commendable efforts on backward integration.
The NSMP was approved in 2012 as a 10-year roadmap with the core objective of developing the sugar industry and helping Nigeria achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production.
However, the implementation phase of the sugar master plan was extended by another ten years from 2023 to 2033 to ensure that the intended aim is achieved.