Jubilation In Essien Udim As Akpabio Briefs Stakeholders On Sugar Refinery Plans, other issues during end of the year get-together
By Endiong John
There is jubilation in Essien Udim following the briefing by Akwa Ibom State’s Commissioner for Investment and Industry, Barr. Prince Ukpong Akpabio that a multi million dollar sugar refinery was due to be sited in Essien Udim local government area. Barr. Akpabio disclosed this on Tuesday during the end of year Stakeholders meeting he held to thank his kinsmen for the support to him and his principal, Deacon Udom Emmanuel in 2019. Barr. Akpabio made it clear that Governor Udom Emmanuel was not taking the support of Essien Udim people for granted and he has huge plans for the local government which part of it is the facilitation of a multi-million dollar worth sugar refinery earmarked for Essien Udim as it’s location.
In 2008, the Federal Government of Nigeria directed the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), to develop a road map for the attainment of self-sufficiency in sugar within the shortest time possible. In compliance, the Council came up with the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan an abridged version of which is the main subject of this slim volume.
The Plan has estimated that our demand for sugar would breach the 1.7 million metric tonnes (MMT) mark by 2020. To be able to satisfy this from domestic production, we will need to establish some 28 sugar factories of varying capacities and bring about 250,000 hectares of land into sugarcane cultivation, over the next 10 years. The bulk of the investment capital will come from private investors.
Nigeria is yet to achieve self-sufficiency eight years after the launch of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan.
Dr Latif Busari, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday that the plan was also to significantly reduce sugar import dependency.
The plan estimated that the country’s demand for sugar will be more than the 1.7 Million Metric Tonnes mark by 2020, with the bulk of the investment capital coming from private investors.
The plan will also help the country to establish 28 sugar factories of varying capacities and bring about 250,000 hectares of land into sugarcane cultivation. With the current achievement of the Akwa Ibom State government on sugar refinery investment, Akwa Ibom State is set to be a leader in sugar self-sufficiency vision of Nigeria.
Akwa Ibom State government has already acquired massive land in Essien Udim for sugar refinery and sugarcane plantation. The design of the refinery will also boost production of ethanol and will generate hundreds of labour opportunities for the Akwa Ibom labour market. Mr. Akpabio said that although the refinery will be impactful for the whole of Akwa Ibom State, that Essien Udim as a host local government will have more to gain. He urged the Stakeholders and people of the local government to continue in their steadfastness and loyalty to the administration of Deacon Udom Emmanuel. He also spoke on the need for the local government to be ready for the January 25th proposed rerun of the Essien State Constituency, Federal Constituency and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district rerun which affects Essien Udim mostly. Akpabio made cash donations as well as bags of rice and cows to support the yuletide celebration of his people. Stakeholders who spoke on behalf of the forum which has Obong Michael Afangideh as the leader, were full of praise for the Honourable Commissioner and Deacon Udom Emmanuel.