In another bold move for self-sufficiency in sugar production through the government’s backward integration policy, the Pan African Conglomerate, Dangote Group and Niger State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government for the establishment of a jumbo US$450 million state-of–art and fully integrated sugar complex.
On completion, the project will generate over 15,000 jobs in the state and bring about a complete economic turn-around for the state.
The US$450 million pact, which was signed in the government house, will see the company producing raw sugarcane on 16,000 ha of land 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.
Mr 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.’
Governor Bello urged Dangote Group to explore other investment opportunities available in the state, just as he announced that the state was opened for multi-sectoral 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 federal government policies.
Group managing director of Dangote Sugar, Abdullahi Sule stated that the MoU would be a game changer for Niger State economy and Nigeria as a whole. ‘Sugar mills will have the capacity to produce 160,000MT of raw sugar. The Dangote Sugar Refinery is developing a sugar backward integration plan through the production of 1.5MT per annum in ten years, respectively, in:
- Nasarawa state
- Adamawa state
- Kogi state
- Kwara state
- Taraba state
- Niger state
The group’s executive director stakeholders’ management and corporate communication Ahmed Mansur had also announced that the group was investing over US$1 billion in the agricultural sector in the country, specifically in rice, sugar, tomato and dairy productions.
Niger State commissioner for investment, commerce and industry Rahmatu Muhammad Yar’Adua said that the deal with Dangote Group will help grow the agricultural sector and create direct and indirect jobs in the state.
It would be recalled that the group’s foray into sugar business began in 1981. It has injected over US$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.