The Federal Government yesterday said that under the newly-approved sugar master plan, imported packaged sugar has been banned with effect from January 2013 in line with its Industrial Revolution Plan.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed that the government was taking the issue of industrial policy implementation seriously in order to develop the country economically and create wealth for Nigerians.
Aganga was speaking at the ministry’s second annual seminar for Trade and Investment correspondents and Business editors in Abuja with the theme “Leveraging Nigeria’s Modest Economic Gains for Enhanced Growth.”
He disclosed that when fully implemented, the new sugar policy already approved by President Goodluck Jonathan, would create 117 direct jobs, provide 411.7 mega watts of power, save the country N565.8million in foreign exchange, produce 1.7 million metric tonnes of sugar and 116million litres of ethanol.
“Sugar is set to follow the cement example where Nigeria has achieved self-sufficiency and is set to start exporting soon,” he said.
He stated that under the new sugar policy all importers are mandated to own their own sugar farms in the country or out growers if they are to continue having licenses to import brown sugar for refining into the country.
“Under the new sugar master plan, all imported packaged retail sugar has been banned from coming into the country with effect from January 2013,” he stated.
He said that the sugar sector is heavily protected by most other countries, citing examples of Kenya and Sudan whose survival were based on the sector.
He said that it was not just about policies but about the right policies, stressing that if this step had been taken earlier it would have remarkably advanced the economy of the country in terms of industrial revolution.
He stressed that government remained committed in its efforts to take the contribution of the manufacturing sector from seven per cent to a double digit figure.
He encouraged the Nigerian press to be more positive in their reporting on the economy because the country has a lot going for it out there in terms of investment attraction.
“The press has to be realistic and positive in order not to confuse interested foreign investors because a lot of clever people are out there looking for opportunities to invest in Nigeria,” he said.
He said a proof of investment interest in the country is the example of the US-EXIM Bank which released $1.5billion fund for Americans interested in investing in Nigeria’s power sector.
He informed that in terms of competitiveness ranking, the country was able to increase by 12 points to 115 this year and also improvement was also made in the global corruption index from 143 to 139.
“In all the indicators we have had an increase this year, but that is not where we want to be. We have targets of where we want to be in the next four years,” he said.
He said that the best is not what can be achieved in just one year but that the important thing is that Nigeria was moving in the right direction.
He noted that our position on the doing business ranking in reality was better than our current rating because milestones that were recorded by the ministry after the month of June such as the Ports reforms and the 24 hour registration of new business entities by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) were not taken into consideration before the compilation of the report.
He said that the National Competitiveness Council is yet to start-off fully because composition of members of the council is yet to be approved.
“It is going to be made up mainly by the private sector and few government people and their job is to drive up Nigeria’s competitive status both in the private and public sector going forward,” he hinted.
Aganga disclosed that his ministry is planning to launch a new tool known as Investment Monitoring and tracking tool which would provide us with tools for investment analysis, tools for improving support services to invest, and evidenced based strategies, policies, and advocacies.
“Without waiting for UNCTAD every year to tell us what has come into the country we should be able to know what comes into our country by way of investments.
He said that the ministry was doing its best to track FDI’s and that is why the Investment Monitoring and tracking tool would be launched in January 2013 so that the government would have an aid for strategic directional planning and policy implementation.
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