Abdul Samad Rabiu, the Chairman and Group CEO of BUA Group has cited the need to address dependence on importation of commodities that can be produced locally, as the reason the firm will constantly work on strategies to bridge the yearly gap of about two million metric tonnes of imported raw sugar in Nigeria.
Rabiu revealed that Nigeria imports about two million metric tonnes of raw sugar for local refining every year, adding that such practice is not sustainable. He also said the Nigerian government’s support was necessary to encourage businesses to substitute importation, noting that if financing support is provided, $3 billion import bill in the steel sector can be reversed.
The Chairman emphasised the need to concentrate on industries where raw materials can be easily accessed locally for production. He noted that the BUA Group was working to address sugar importation, by remaining committed to the Backward Integrated Policy of the Nigerian Sugar MasterPlan, with its increased investments in the 20,000ha Lafiagi Sugar and 50,000ha Bassa Sugar plantations.
Rabiu explained that Nigeria has the land and capacity to crush tonnes of sugar cane to produce refined sugar, with potential to explore the export market.
It was revealed that BUA Group is making a total investment of over $300 million in Lafiagi Sugar Company to cover the plantation, sugar mill, its refinery, the ethanol and power plant as well as the complete agricultural aspects of the project.
Rabiu noted that when completed, the Lafiagi sugar mill with refinery will have capacity to crush about 7,000 tons of cane per day and produce over 140,000 tons of pure refined white sugar, about 25 million litres of ethanol, generate 35 megawatts of electricity as well as generate employment opportunities for over 10,000 people.
Latif Busari, the Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development commended the efforts of the BUA Group and encouraged the company not to relent on its efforts, but continue to sustain its strategy to moving the country towards self-sufficiency in sugar in the shortest time possible.