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Dangote, Niger State seal N166b pact on sugar production

By Femi Adekoya
24 August 2017   |   4:25 am
In its drive for self-sufficiency in sugar production, the Dangote Group yesterday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Niger State Government...

Aliko Dangote

In its drive for self-sufficiency in sugar production, the Dangote Group yesterday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Niger State Government for the establishment of a N166-billion state-of–art and fully integrated sugar complex.

On completion, according to the President of the Group, Aliko Dangote, the project will generate over 15,000 jobs in the State, and bring about a complete economic turn-around.

The $450million pact, which was signed at the Government House in Minna, will see the company producing raw sugarcane on 16,000 hectares of land at Lavun Local Government Area, through an out-grower scheme.

The Company, which is currently operating out-grower scheme in Rice production in a number of states, has the Africa’s largest sugar refinery in Lagos, and a sugar cane plantation in Numan, Adamawa State.

Dangote said his 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 the State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, 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 revolutionise 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 is open to multi-sectoral investments.

Representative of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Aminu Bisala, said Dangote is the biggest private sector supporter of the Nigerian economy, and Federal Government policies, adding that government was comfortable with the numerous investments efforts of the Dangote Group.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Niger State Traditional Council Etsu Nupe Abubakar Yahyah, said he was elated about the huge investment coming to the state, while praying God to bless the Dangote Group more.

Just last week, the Conglomerate had sponsored an Investment Summit in the State, which was attended by former Presidents Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, and the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, who described the private sector as key to the country’s economic development.

The Group Managing Director, Dangote Sugar Plc, Abdullahi Sule, said 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 160,000 metric tonnes (MT), of raw sugar, pointing out that the Group has been in the forefront of supporting government’s industrialisation 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 10 years in: Nasarawa, Adamawa, Kogi, Kwara, Taraba, and Niger states respectively.

The Group’s Executive Director, Stakeholders’ Management and Corporate Communication, Ahmed Mansur, had also announced that the Group was investing over $1billion in the agricultural sector in Nigeria, specifically in rice, sugar, tomato, and dairy productions.

The Niger State Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Rahmatu Muhammad Yar’Adua, said the deal with Dangote Group will help grow the agricultural sector, and create direct and indirect jobs in the state.

Recall that the Group’s foray into sugar business began in 1981. It injected over N38billion 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.