National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has reaffirmed that the Backward Integration Programme (BIP), an initiative under Sugar Master Plan is capable of creating huge employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled youths in the country.
Speaking while on a visit to sugar refineries in Lagos, the Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Zacch Adedeji, noted that the roadmap designed for the nation’s sugar industry has the capacity to tackle the soaring unemployment level and, also address other socio-economic issues currently bedevilling the country.
He said that the sugar sector at the present has what it takes to provide direct and indirect jobs to millions of Nigerian youths skilled or unskilled.
“The sugar sector is a goldmine that holds numerous potentials and opportunities for Nigeria and Nigerians. It is a sector that has provided direct and indirect jobs for thousands of our citizens across disciplines and professions.
“We are all concerned about the need to provide job opportunities for our people, especially our youths.
“Unemployment is a major contributor to the various social crises facing us today as a country. This is why the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to revamping the sugar industry to enable it to absorb our citizens and contribute meaningfully to the economy and the country in general.”
According to a statement by Mal. Ahmed Waziri, Adedeji assured investors in the sector of government’s support, in terms of policy and technical assistance.
“The federal government is serious and determined to realise its objectives as far as the sugar sector is concerned. We hope to be the largest exporter of sugar in Africa in the nearest future. To achieve this lofty goal, we must all roll up our sleeves and accord priority to our backward integration programme which is the bedrock of our mission as an agency of government.”
He said, “Only recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria said it would soon begin to restrict access to foreign exchange to producers of some commodities in the country, including sugar.
“This is clearly an indication that government cannot continue to expand its scarce forex on things that we have all it takes to produce locally.
“Let’s take this as a challenge and work towards ensuring that the BIP policy succeeds for the benefit oir dear country”.
“It bears restating that we must be ready to take actions that will make Nigeria a net exporter of sugar thereby saving scarce forex for other purposes.
“Let us integrate all that we are doing to a workable and implementable agenda for the smooth operation of the sector,” he stated.
Sugar sector to provide jobs through BIP for skilled and unskilled Nigerian youths