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Sugar policy will save Nigeria N90.52bn annually — FG

By on August 10, 2013

The implementation of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan will save the country about $565.8m (N90.528bn) in foreign exchange annually, the Federal Government has said.

This was contained in a document prepared by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, which detailed the progress and achievement of his ministry in the last two years.

The NSMP was approved by the Federal Executive Council and is expected to raise the country’s local sugar production to a self-sufficiency level.

It is also expected to help the nation to stem the tide of high importation of the commodity; contribute to the production of ethanol, lead to the generation of about 411 megawatts of electricity; and create 117,181 jobs.

Aganga said, “Nigeria is among the top five importers of sugar and only produces about three per cent of domestic consumption.

“However, on September 19, 2012, the Federal Executive Council approved the NSMP and the implementation commenced in January 2013.

“The NSMP has stimulated investments of $3bn thus far. The NSMP is targeting the production of 1.7 metric tonnes of sugar; creation of 117,181 direct jobs; generation of 411.7MW of electricity; and total forex savings of up to $565.8m annually from savings from sugar production and fuel importation.”

The minister said history had shown that no country could become rich by exporting raw materials without also having an industrial sector.

He argued that the more a country specialised in the production of raw materials only, the poorer it would become.

Aganga, however, said there had been significant improvements in the country’s balance of trade with reduced importation and increased export value.

For instance, he said the reduction in dependence on oil and gas for export earnings had made the country to earn N305bn in the first three months of this year.

He said, “The country recorded a 43 per cent decline in imports between 2011 and 2012, resulting in savings of about N4.2tn in foreign exchange.

“In Q1 2013, industry contributed 66.9 per cent of the Federal Government’s non-oil earnings. Import, as a percentage of total trade, fell from 35.7 per cent in 2011 to 20 per cent in 2012.”

In order to boost industrialisation and create wealth, the minister said the Federal Government had developed the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan.

He added, “It is our nation’s first comprehensive, integrated and strategic roadmap to industrialisation. The NIRP has identified strategic industry groups where Nigeria already has comparative advantage, with a view to increasing capacity and production in the near to mid-term.

“We are rigorously implementing the backward integration policy used in the cement industry in other sectors.”

On the development of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, the minister said the government had developed the National Enterprise Development Programme.

This programme, he added, would help to take industry to the grass roots in all the states of the federation and link the SMEs to others outside Nigeria.

He said currently, there were 32 million Nigerians employed by the MSMEs, adding that the programme would increase the employment figure by 16 per cent in the next three years.