Chairman Senate committee on Housing and Urban Development, Senator Banabas Germade, yesterday called on investors to invest in the nation’s sugar sub-sector so that the country can conserve the huge foreign exchange spent annually on importation of sugar, boost employment generation for the good of the country.
Germade made the called while fielding questions from journalists at the end of the southern sugar sensitisation workshop on Nigerian sugar master plan for stakeholders in the sugar sub-sector which ended in Calabar on Friday.
Germade stated that investment in the sugar sector will facilitate the production of 161.2m liters of ethanol, produced 1.79million metric tons of sugar, generate about 411MW of electricity and create about 117, 000 jobs for the army of unemployed youths.
Germade who said that he came to Calabar for the sensitisation workshop to represent the Senate Committee chairman on Industries Senator, Sam Egwu, lamented that despite the huge capital investment sunk on the sugar sector by the federal government to make the sector become self-sufficient, Nigeria is still ranked 4th largest importer in the world.
He said that records on ground shows that Nigeria is meeting only 2 to 3% of her demand of about 30, OOO mt out of the requirement of 1.7mmt, importing over 1.3 mmt in 2009.
The law maker averred that, he was shocked when he learnt that 40% of Mauritius electricity requirement was through sugar cane bio-product stressing that an estimated 6 million Kenyans derive their livelihood from the industry with 250, OOO farmers involved.
The legislator maintained that sugar cane produce power over 86% of its fleet of light vehicles through ethanol sugar cane.
Germade stated, “it is sad to note that from 1960 to date, we have only 2 to 3 nearly vibrant sugar factories despites several interventions and privatisation that really never commence production”
He also added that: “I would like to know from the reviewers what the research institutes have achieved for over three decades after collecting over 5OO varieties of canes breeding, knowing that sugar is the third most important commodity after rice and wheat”.
Germade called for establishment of additional sugar refineries by the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) outside the existing ones to boost income and employment generation for the country.
The law maker stated that the Senate was always willing to enact, repeal or amend any law that is either obsolete or an impediment to the growth of sugar industry.