Home Industry News Dangote extends sugar refinery to Nasarawa 

Dangote extends sugar refinery to Nasarawa 

by Goddie Ofose
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Igbawase Ukumba reports that five years into the acquisition of 68,000 hectares of land in the Tunga community of Nasarawa State by the Dangote Sugar Group, a team from the group was in the state recently to commence construction of a factory for the Tunga Sugar Refinery

It all began in 2017 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dangote Sugar Group and the Nasarawa State government for a $700 million sugar project at Tunga in the Awe Local Government Area of the state. The signing ceremony of the deed of acquisition, lease, and development agreement took place at the National Sugar Development Council, Sugar House, Abuja.

The integrated sugar complex to be located in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, comprised 68,000-hectare sugar plantations and two sugar factories with the capacity to produce 430,000tpa of refined white sugar, representing about 30 per cent of the country’s consumption and would be the largest plant in Nigeria.

 The sugar project would also provide 30,000 jobs for teeming youths in Nasarawa State. When extended to cover 100,000 hectares, it will make the sugar plant the largest in Africa. This was even as the Dangote Group had already committed the sum of N250 million for the community development of Tunga in line with its corporate social responsibility initiative to improve the people’s well-being.

 Nevertheless, the Dangote Sugar Refinery in Tunga is also expected to generate about 90 megawatts of power annually when completed, as disclosed by Governor Abdullahi Sule at a sugar sensitisation workshop organised by the National Sugar Development Council in Lafia.

According to the governor, “Aside from the refinery producing 90 megawatts of power yearly, it will only use an average of 45 megawatts to operate. The remaining 45 megawatts would serve the Tunga community as it is more than enough power for Lafia to use alongside other areas like Obi, Keana, and Awe Local Government Areas of the state.”

 Hence as long as legislation is required for the success of any given venture, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly said it would give the Dangote Sugar Refinery all the necessary legislative backing and support to enable the Tunga Sugar Refinery to succeed. The speaker of the state assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, gave the assurance when he led other principal officers of the House on an on-the-spot assessment of Dangote Sugar Refinery, Tunga.

 The assembly, therefore, assured the Dangote Sugar Group of its continued support for the activities of the Dangote group to succeed in the state. The assembly noted that the refinery would enhance the economic and security status of the state considering its benefit in the overall development of the state.

 It was against this background that the Nasarawa House of Assembly Speaker said: “The project will also tackle unemployment, thereby putting unemployed youths and other people off the street, and improving the standard of living of the people of the state and Nigeria at large. We appreciate Alhaji Aliko Dangote for this project in our state as this project is a pride to Tunga, Nasarawa State, Nigeria, and indeed Africa as a whole.”

 The Speaker of the assembly, Balarabe Abdullahi, commended Governor Sule for ensuring that the project was established in the state when he was the Managing Director of the Sugar Refinery of the Dangote group. The Nasarawa House of Assembly Speaker equally commended the host community and called for their continued support to enable the project to succeed.

 During the visit to the Tunga Sugar Refinery project site by the principal officers of the state assembly, the General Manager of Government and Strategic Relations, Dangote Industries Ltd, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Dan-Musa appreciated the speaker and his entourage for the visit. He said the visit would further boost the relationship between the House and Dangote refinery.

 The General Manager expressed the determination of Alhaji Dangote to continue to invest in Nigeria to tackle unemployment and uplift the standard of living of Nigerians.

 Even though a factory for the Tunga Sugar Refinery was yet to be constructed to bring full-scale socio-economic activities for the people of the Tunga community, the siting of the Sugar Refinery and a Sugarcane Plantation alone was already transforming the community and generating employment for the people thereby reducing crime. This was confirmed by stakeholders in the Tunga community, therefore, commending Dangote Group for the huge agricultural investment in their area.

 The stakeholders gave the commendation in separate interactions with THISDAY in the headquarters of Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. According to them, “the siting of a sugar refinery and sugarcane plantation is already transforming the community and generating employment for the people thereby reducing crime.”

 For the chairman of the Tunga Development Association, Mr. Umar Ameygye, “the establishment of Dangote Sugar Refinery and sugarcane plantation in the area has brought a lot of benefits to us. The company has renovated and provided facilities in so many primary and secondary schools as well as primary healthcare centres.”

 Ameygye continued that the company has also provided boreholes and overhead water tanks in various locations across the community. He added that the company, through the state government, had paid compensation to all persons whose lands were acquired before work commenced.

 On his part, the chairman of the Tunga Youths Association, Dauda Musa-Dauda, simply said the company was God-sent to the community. He claimed that the company had employed a lot of youths from the area thereby addressing the issue of unemployment and insecurity. Musa-Dauda also said the Dangote Group awarded scholarships to their indigenes in primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions of learning.

 However, five years into Dangote Group’s acquisition of the 68,000 hectares of land in Tunga, a team from the Group was in the state at the beginning of the month to commence civil works for the construction of the Dangote Sugar Factory. A member of the two-man team from the headquarters of Dangote Group, Maryoud Elsunni, disclosed this when the team paid a courtesy visit to Governor Sule in the Lafia Government House.

Elsunni said: “The Chairman/CEO of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has directed his contractor to handle the project, which when started will generate employment for over 1,000 people from the immediate community. They will first undertake the construction of a bigger water pump station that will provide water across 15,000 hectares, in addition to the already existing water pump station that can cater for 600 hectares.

 “The contractor is coming with some highly skilled personnel, but a lot of the workers will be engaged locally. Unlike contractors that will come with their workers, this one will engage thousands of local people to build these structures.”

 Governor Abdullahi Sule who couldn’t hide his excitement when receiving the two-man Dangote Group team in his Lafia Government House office, said the essence of bringing investments like the Dangote Sugar Refinery was to bring wealth to the people of the state.

 Earlier, while announcing the arrival of the Dangote team to members of the Nasarawa State Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), also on a courtesy call, Sule explained the process for the production of sugar takes time.

 According to the governor, “unlike what most people think, it is not possible to cultivate the 68,000 hectares of land in Tunga, all at once. A lot of people lack the proper understanding of the processes involved in the production of sugar, hence the need to throw more light on the matter.

 “What you need to do is to start with 100 hectares, if the location is good for the production of sugarcane, then you will expand the production from 100 hectares to 1,000 hectares to 10,000 hectares. Since it takes sugarcane one year to grow, it will take approximately three years for an investor to produce enough sugarcane that will be crushed to produce sugar.

 “Assuming it is good, then it takes him to 10,000 hectares. At that moment then he begins to now install his factory because he has enough cane by next year, to be able to crush and produce a little sugar” he explained.

 While noting that peace and stability were key elements in attracting investors, Sule explained why his administration doesn’t take the issue of security lightly.  “When there is total peace and stability, things flourish. Opportunities flourish. Investors are looking for where there is peace, where there’s stability to invest their money. In Nasarawa State, we will not go anywhere if we don’t have peace and stability. We are looking at projects that will be revenue-generating,” the governor maintained.

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