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Kwara hails BUA Sugar’s $300m investment

Governor seeks end to importation

The Kwara State government has lauded BUA Group for its $300 million investment in sugar production in Lafiagi.

Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said more investments are required to end the nation’s dependence on imported sugar, adding that the country has the competitive advantage to be a large producer and exporter of the commodity.

The governor described the company’s move as a step in the right direction as it will end importation of sugar and expand the industrial base of the state’s economy.

He said Nigeria remained a large sugar consumer, arguing that the high consumption rate was largely attributed to the nation’s increasing population as well as continuous growth in food processing for which sugar is a major ingredient.

Ahmed urged local and foreign investors to invest in the nation’s sugar industry to end importation of the commodity, saying the country has the capacity to meet its local demand for sugar.

According him, data made available by the United States Department of Agriculture showed that Nigeria’s raw sugar import last year was estimated to be about 1.345 metric tons per annum (mtpa) which is expected to rise to about 1.7mtpa.

He said: “This is because of the absence of competitive alternatives to meet the demand for local consumption.This is rather worrisome considering the fact that Nigeria is endowed with the manpower, raw materials and excellent climate condition to produce enough sugar to meet local demand and of course export.

“It is imperative to change the statistics in sugar production not to only to save us from wasting our scarce foreign exchange but also generate wealth and enhance economic growth. We have identified agriculture as a major strategy to create wealth and jobs for the youths which we believe will be felt in the medium and long-term. We are putting the policies and structures in place for an agro-led economic diversification.”

The governor said the sugar sub-sector is important due to its ability to contribute largely to solving unemployment, development of other subsidiary industries and its significant impact on the rural economy.

He said: ”I am pleased to be here to flag off the 2016 cane planting season which represents another positive step in the nation’s resolve to end importation of sugar in the country and also expand the base of the state’s economy.

“I want to commend the management of BUA Group for its investment in Lafiagi Sugar company which will produce about 1.5 mtpa as well as employ about 6000 people directly and another 19000 indirectly. This investment will significantly reduce youth unemployment in this area and bring more prosperity to the state.”