Business

Fertiliser import surges to N116.5bn despite FG’s measures

Despite various measures to encourage its local production, a total of N116.5 billion ($247.91 million) fertiliser was imported into the country in the last one year.

 

The import was increased by $37.71 million in 2019 to $247.91 million or 84.4 per cent in 2020.

 

The Federal Government had planned to save $1.2 billion annually when it was discovered that the country’s plants had the capacity to produce over four million tonnes Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Po  tassium (NPK ) fertiliser annually, while highest quantity being utilised by farmers was 1.5 million tonnes. However, only N164 billion ($350 million) had been saved from payments on subsidy and import substitution through the implementation of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI).

 

Data by the International Trade Statistics (ITS) on Nigerian imports revealed that Morocco exported $128 million of fertiliser to the country last year, Russia, $83.37 million; China, $17.15 million and Germany, 11 million.

 

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji, under the modifications, said that the Authority had been transitioned to an upstream player thereby limiting its involvement to importation, storage and the wholesale of raw materials to blenders.

 

He explained that the presidency had approved the restructuring of PFI, starting in the 2021 cycle with various modifications, following the successes recorded over the past four years.

 

According to him, blenders would no longer be paid blending fees by NAIC-NPK, noting that they will recover their costs directly from selling the fertiliser to the market. The blending plants are expected to provide bank guarantees to cover requisitioned raw materials demand that are appropriated for their respective production volumes.

 

Also, in line with the presidential directive, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are expected to engage commercial banks to facilitate lines of concessionary credits to blending plants for the purchase of raw materials.

 

The managing director stressed that 41 blending plants had been resuscitated from the initial four plants at project inception.

 

In addition, Orji said that an estimated 250,000 direct and indirect jobs had been created across the agriculture value chain, including in logistics, ports, bagging, rail, industrial warehousing and haulage. It would be recalled that in 2019,

 

CBN had warned that no foreign exchange should be made available for the purpose of funding fertiliser imports, noting that any company that imports the product would be sanctioned.

 

In the memo dated January 30, 2020 and signed by Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Mr. A.S. Jibrin, the apex bank reminded authorised dealers and the general public that the ban on all NPK fertilisers and any other variant remained in force

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