Govt plans generation of electricity from ethanol
By Fatima Saka
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed its plan to be the largest producer of sugar on the African continent in the next 10 years and generate electricity from ethanol.
The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council, Mr. Zach Adedeji, made this statement while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the Executive Secretary, the country is rolling out a 10-year Master Plan aimed at massive increment in sugar production that would make Nigeria satisfy the sugar needs of the African continent.
Adedeji revealed that the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), a 10-year road map policy that seeks to meaningfully revitalize the once vibrant sugar sub-sector and make Nigeria one of the leading sugar-producing nations within the continent, was first initiated in 2012.
He further explained that it is an ambitious and well-thought-out policy framework for the sector, which seeks to bring about a complete overhaul to enable Nigeria to become self-sufficient in sugar production, create direct and indirect jobs, generate electricity, become a notable global sugar producer, and produce ethanol for industrial use.
I must say that we are quite pleased with the tremendous successes weve recorded with regard to the refining of imported raw sugar. In fact, Nigeria has since met its raw sugar refining capacity, which is commendable.
“But like Ive always stated, the successes we have achieved in the area of raw sugar refining must be replicated in our backward integration project (BIP), which is a major component of the NSMP and has the capacity to tackle rising unemployment and also address other socio-economic challenges facing the country,
“We can only celebrate as a sector if we are able to grow cane and produce raw sugar locally. I know its a tough job, but we are more than ready to achieve our target objectives given our commitment and efforts. Also, within the first 10 years of the NSMP, weve been able commission a multi-billion dollar sugar factory and estate in Sunti, Niger State, creation of over one million direct and indirect jobs, the takeoff of the moribund Nigerias foremost sugar company Bacita, Kwara State, and several other landmark feats recorded in the last 10 years in the sugar sector.
It is a known fact that the nations sugar sector has witnessed some significant reforms in the last 10 years. The sector is now well regulated, roles of stakeholders are clearly defined, formulation of enabling laws and policies to aid growth and heavy reliance on modern technology to drive the process,” he said.
He said going forward, all the activities of the council would solely be driven by research, data, innovation and modern technology, adding that the Nigeria Sugar Institute located in Ilorin, Kwara state would assist in the sugar revolution.
He noted that with the Federal Governments approval of the commencement of phase two of the NSMP, with actual implementation to begin this year through 2033, there is going to be turnaround in the fortune of the country which would lead it to the summit of sugar production on the continent and creating massive employment for the citizens and generating electricity through sugar for the populace.
“This is an ambitious and well-thought-out move that will drive and revamp the sector in order to restore Nigerias lost glory as far as sugar production in the continent is concerned. Raw sugar quota allocation would be given based on the performance of BIP operators and not based on the size of their refineries. Weve communicated this to our stakeholders, especially the operators. In fact, we even made them to sign recommitment forms for the BIP, indicating that they are ready to act in line with the new order put in place by the council. It is not a witch-hunt, but a deliberate and well thought-out measure to accelerate our drive to self sufficiency in sugar production,” he added.
He noted that the nation was upgrading from sugar industry to sugarcane based industry, and would be focusing on producing ethanol from sugar for power.
He said the new Master plan for 10 years start now and the industry is open for new investors.
He said: In the next ten years we should be able to fill the African market with sugar from Nigeria. Satisfy our local consumption and export to the rest of Africa. We hope to be the largest exporter of sugar in Africa soon.