In a move to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production in the country through government’s backward integration policy, pan-African conglomerate, Dangote Group, Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Niger State government in Nigeria for the building of a $450 million state-of–art and fully integrated sugar complex.
According to Aliko Dangote, president of the group, the project, on completion, will generate over 15,000 jobs and bring about a complete economic turn-around for the state.
The $450 million pact, which was signed in the government house will see the company producing raw sugarcane on 16,000 hectares of land at Lavun Local Government through an out-grower scheme.
The company, which is currently operating 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.
Dangote said the 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.
He commended Abubakar Sani Bello, the state Governor, for his foresight and efforts to woo investors to Niger State, noting “the 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.”
In his remarks, Governor Bello said the deal will revolutionize agriculture in his state and Nigeria. Expressing joy that the MoU was signed during his own administration, he described Dangote as the liberator of the Nigerian economy and a dependable partner.
The Governor then urged Dangote Group to explore other investment opportunities available in the state, just as he announced that the state was opened for multi-sectorial investments.
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 government policies.
Abdullahi Sule, group managing Director of Dangote Sugar Plc, Engr. stated that the MoU would be a game changer for Niger State economy and Nigeria as a whole.
He said the integrated sugar mills will have the capacity to produce 160,000MT of raw sugar, pointing out that has been in the fore front of support for government industrialization programmes through backward integration policy in agriculture.
According to him, 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.
Ahmed Mansur, Dangote Group’s executive director stakeholders’ management and corporate communication also announced that the Group was investing over $1billion in the agricultural sector in the country, specifically in rice, sugar, tomato and dairy productions.
Dangote Group foray into sugar business began in 1981. It has injected over $104 million into the Savannah Sugar Company Limited it acquired from government in 2003. Savannah Sugar this year alone, produced 20,000MT of raw sugar from its plantation.