BUA Group, a leading Nigerian food, infrastructure and manufacturing conglomerate founded by billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu, has secured a $200-million corporate facility from the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to complete its vertically integrated sugar facility in Lafiagi in Kwara State, Nigeria.
According to Yahoo! Finance, the corporate facility will enable the group to develop, construct, commission and operate a 20,000-hectare plantation, 2.2-million-tonne sugar milling plant and a 200,000-tonne-per-annum sugar refinery that will process and refine white sugar.
The project, which is now under construction, will also feature an ethanol plant that will produce at least 25 million liters of ethanol annually and a 35-megawatt power plant that will produce renewable energy from sugarcane residue.
The development significantly boosts Nigeria’s quest to ensure self-sufficiency in sugar production.
In the wake of an alarming gap in the nation’s sugar demand, Nigeria launched the National Sugar Master Plan in 2012 aimed at completely overhauling the sector, creating at least 107,000 jobs over 10 years and ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in sugar production.
According to National Sugar Development Council Executive Secretary Zacch Adedeji, the plan has attracted about N250 billion ($600 million) in investment in the past seven years.
In addition, the project is a significant boost to BUA Group’s import-substitution and vertical-integration strategies and is expected to shore up its earnings when completed.
Commenting on the recent development, Rabiu, BUA Group’s executive chairman, said: ‘’We are pleased to partner with the AFC – a leading multilateral finance institution focused on Africa’s infrastructure and industrial development, on our Lafiagi Sugar Project, which is one of the most ambitious sugar plantation projects in West Africa.”
The BUA Sugar Refinery, alongside the Dangote Sugar Refinery and Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, is an exclusive sugar importer in Nigeria.
The refinery has a total capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes from its Lagos and Port Harcourt facilities. It aims to increase its capacity to 1.7 million metric tonnes when the new sugar plant in Lafiagi becomes fully operational.