The Federal Government says the country will be self-sufficient in refined sugar production by 2023.
Dr Latif Busari, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council said this on Thursday in Abuja at the signing of “Sugarcane Irrigation’’ agreement between BUA and NETAFIM.
Busari said the agreement would boost sugarcane farming, thereby, providing raw materials for refined sugar production.
“Right now, we are producing only five per cent of our total need and importing the rest.
“However, I must state clearly that what we import is raw sugar and not refined sugar.
“We import raw sugar and our refineries which have a combined capacity of about three million metric tonnes refining capacity refined it.
“Dangote, BUA and Golden sugar import raw sugar, add a bit of value and in the process create some few jobs.
“However, we are working to get these major operators to begin to produce locally and that is why we started the backward integration programme,’’ he said.
Busari commended BUA for embarking on the project and pledged the council’s continued support for sugar producers to succeed.
Also speaking, the Group Executive Director, BUA, Mr Kabiru Rabiu said that the company was investing about N108 billion (300 million dollars) into backward integration of sugar in the country.
He said that the agreement with Netafim would improve irrigation at BUA’s 20,000 hectares Lafiagi Sugar plantation, using artificial intelligence and highly sophisticated irrigation and mapping technology.
“Since we started this project, we have not relented in putting together the most sophisticated sugar plantation project in Nigeria till date.
“In addition to milling and refining of sugar, we are also investing in ethanol production and power generation.
“Netafim will help us determine the irrigation and water application needs of different areas and soil types in the plantation.
“Construction of the sugar mill at the plantation has started and upon completion will produce more than 1.8 million tonnes of sugarcane, yielding about 250,000 tons of white refined sugar.
“Also, it will produce 20 million litres of ethanol, employ more than 10,000 persons and generate some 35 MW of electricity every year,’’ he said.
The Federal Government’s Nigerian Sugar Master Plan which started in 2013, aims to achieve local sugar production level of about 1.7 million metric tonnes by 2023.
The target is expected to be attained by the establishment of numerous sugar factories in parts of the country and cultivation of sugarcane on at least 250,000 hectares of land over 10 years.
Most of the investment in the sector is expected to come from the private sector.
FG reiterates commitment to give priority to development of textile industry
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, said that the Federal Government would give priority to development of the textile industry.
The minister said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the Assistant Director of Press in the ministry.
The minister of state said that it was essential to make Nigeria an exporter of finished products.
Katagum spoke when a delegation of investors from China led by the Treasurer of Kano State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim visited her in Abuja.
She expressed delight with the Chinese investors who indicated interest to develop the textile industry in Kano.
According to her, Kano is known to be a historic centre for the textile industry, particularly the traditional dying art technology that has been there for many decades.
Katagum further assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to support the Kano State Government and the Chinese investors for the development of the textile industry.
She added that the support was in line with the current administration’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) policy.
Earlier, Ibrahim said the purpose of the visit was to seek collaboration with the ministry for the development of the country’s textile industry.
He explained that Kano State Government in partnership with Dantata Group of Companies was working assiduously to ensure that Nigeria’s textile industry was developed to support the country’s economic diversification plan.
Edited by: Ese E. Ekama
Maintenance: AEDC notifies power interruption in parts of Abuja, Kano
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), says customers in parts of Central Area, Abuja will experience power interruption on Dec. 14 and 15 due to maintenance of its facility. .
AEDC’s General Manager, Coporate Communication, Mr 0yebode Fadipe said this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
Fadipe said that the areas to be affected by the interruption which would commence from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. include Wuse Zone 1-7, Maitama and some parts of Kano.
He said that the interruption was to enable the Abuja Region of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) maintenance team in conjunction with AEDC undertake the replacement of a punctured 132 kilo Volt XLPE cable on the Katampe – Central Area 132kV Line 1.
Fadipe said that the scope of work had been planned to last for three weekends in order to minimise the period of interruption of power supply to customers within the affected areas.
“The decision to embark on the replacement of the cable is gratifying as it will engender improved service to customers.
“Our customers who had hitherto been experiencing loadshedding can now look forward to longer hours of power supply after the replacement of the cable, which is situated at the back of the IBB Golf Course
“We appeal for patience and understanding of the affected customers as the replacement of the cable is expected to be completed on Dec. 29,” he said.
Edited by: Ese E. Ekama
AfDB approves $124.2m loan for water sector reforms in Akure
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a 124.2 million dollars loan to finance the urban water sector reform and Akure water supply and sanitation projects in Nigeria.
the bank’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprised 61 operations, of which 54 were national and seven were regional.
“The total commitment to these projects is 4.8 billion dollars and includes water and sanitation projects worth 606.0 million dollars.
Edited by: Donald Ugwu
2019 Q3: MAN pegs CEOs Confidence Index at 51.7 per cent
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday pegged the composite Manufacturers CEO’s Confidence Index (MCCI) for the third quarter of 2019 at 51.7 per cent.
The percentage was given in a statistics report made available to newsmen in Lagos.
According to the report, the value presents a marginal increase of 0.8 index point over 50.9 index points as recorded in the second quarter of the year.
It also indicates some level of improvement in the nation’s ports operations following some ongoing government reforms.
Notwithstanding, the CEOs said that poor access, heavy traffic and undue congestion at the ports still prevalent were recorded.
Additonally, local sourcing of raw materials gained traction due to the backward integration policy and import substitution strategies of the government.
The CEOs urged government to sustain the implementation of the backward integration policy by properly funding relevant institutions, initiating policies that would prioritise development of local raw materials in commercial quantities.
“The slight increase is a welcome development as it depicts upstick in the performance of the manufacturing sector and shows that manufacturers confidence in the economy improved in the third quarter.
“Nevertheless, the slight improvement in performance was attributed to doggedness of manufacturers as the operating environment remains very challenging,” the report reads in part.
It also states that the indexes of the current business conditions dropped to 41.5 per cent from 43 per cent recorded in the second quarter.
In addition, current employment conditions which stood at 35 per cent in the second quarter also improved to 42.3 per cent in the third quarter, while production expectations for the next three months increased marginally from 64 per cent to 66.4 per cent.
The CEOs, in the report, however, urged the government to make conscious efforts at addressing the challenges currently rocking the manufacturing sector.
They identified and ranked poor electricity and gas supplies first; multiple taxation and frivolous demands by government agencies second; high interest rates and difficulty accessing loans, poor accessibility to ports and high demurages ranked third; and poor economic infrastructure fourth.
Difficulty in sourcing forex, low patronage, counterfeiting and inflation, high cost of spare parts, high government bureaucracy, lack of skilled labour, insecurity, high cost of production, poor environmental management systems ranked fifth to twelfth respectively.
The CEOs recommended urgent resolution of the Nigeria-Benin border disputes, resuscitation of domestic refining to conserve forex for industry needs, and proper implementation, monitoring of government laws, regulations and Executive orders.
They also callee for deliberate channeling of economic infrastructure to strategic economic hubs across the nation.
The CEOs urged government to address the observed port-related challenges, dilapidated infrastructure, inadequate space, weak trade facilitation infrastructure, poor road network and the associated gridlock to enhance competitiveness.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the MCCI was created to gauge the pulse of the economy on a quarterly basis.
The data presented in the report was generated from the responses of over 200 CEOs of MAN member-companies across the country focusing on their positions on macroeconomic and business operating environments as well as perception on the earlier mentioned diffusion factors.
The MCCI report took into account manufacturers’ perception on a set of diffusion factors including current business condition and business condition for the next three months.
Additionally, the current employment condition, rate of employment, employment condition for the next three months and production level for the next three months were also measured.
It also considered the general macroeconomic condition inclusive of foreign exchange, business operating environment, lending rate, credit to the manufacturing sector and capital expenditure of the government in the analysis.
Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
27 ships laden with petroleum products, food items awaiting to berth — NPA
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says 27 ships laden with petroleum products, food items and other goods have arrived Tincan port waiting to berth.
According to it, the ships are carrying containers, bulk salt, used vehicles, bulk sugar, new vehicles and automobile gasoline.
The publication said that 30 ships were expected at the ports with automobile gasoline, fuel, containers, bulk malt, general cargo, lab/base oil, crude palmolien and used vehicles.
Also, the organisation said that 11 other ships were at the ports discharging general cargo, containers, bulk wheat and vehicles.
Edited by: Tayo Ikujuni/Ali Baba-Inuwa
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