Niger state Government on Wednesday signed a $450 million (N166 billion) Memorandum of Understanding with Dangote Group for the setting up of an Integrated Sugar cane plantation and a Sugar Refinery plant in the state.
The state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello signed for the government while the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote endorsed the agreement on behalf of Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC in Minna, Niger State capital.
The multi million dollar project is billed to be sited on a 16,908 hectares of land in Lavun Local Government area to the state.
Governor Sani Bello who eulogused the foresight of the Dangote Group in investing in the state noted that the project would be of great benefit to the state as it will provide job opportunities, basic amenities to host communities and improve their economic base as certain percentage of the sugar cane from communities would be purchased by the company.
“The mutual benefit drivable for both parties in this project are enormous, especially if we take advantage in the sugar cane value chain. It will not only provide thousands of jobs for our youths, but also provide some social amenities for the host communities through the company’s corporate social responsibilities.
“The company has also agreed to purchase up to 30% of their sugar cane requirement from the host communities integrated into the project,” the governor stated.
Gov. Sani Bello then called on the people of the state to ensure that all hands are on deck to ensure the success of the project. He also appealled to other prospective investors to consider the state as the government has made the environment a safe haven for investors and businesses to thrive.
Earlier Alh. Aliko Dangote disclosed that the company had already acquired some hecters of land in Lavun local government area of the state to commence sugar cane plantation and produce 12,000 tonnes of Sugar cane per day.
“The project is to be located in the Lavun local government area of the state and it will involve the development of a sugar cane plantation of about 16,000 hectares which will be supplemented by out out grower scheme to produce 12,000 tonnes of cane per day. This will be crushed and refined into high quality white sugar”.
Dangote also stated that in addition to the refined white sugar to be produced by the plant, other bye-products such as electricity, ethanol, and animal feed would also be produced in the plant.
He added that the company is working with the state government to establish a large scale rice milling factory in another part of the state to enable it process about 200,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice.
According to the prominent industrialist, his group ventured into agriculture because it believe that “it is a key sector that contributes immensely to the industrialization of any nation”, adding that it was “in line with our desire to add value to the economy of creating jobs”.
The president of the company then assured the state government that the project would commence as soon as compensations are paid to the host communities by the end of September.
The Estu Nupe and Chairman, Niger state Council of Traditional Rulers, Alh. Yahaya Abubakar who promised maximum support of yhe host communities called on the Dangote Group to hasten up the commencement of the project stressing that it would improve the living standard of the people in the area.