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Nigerian importers order N245.36bn sugar

Manufacturers and importers have ordered $533.4million of raw sugar within 11 months from Brazil and nine other countries into Nigeria. Worried by the huge amount of foreign exchange, the Nigerian Sugar Development Council (NSDC) said that it had opened discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to enable the companies access development fund to ease their financial burden.

The council added that a total investment of $3.1billion would be required from the private sector to effectively implement the sugar policy. However, data by the International Trade Statistics by Country (ITSC) revealed that Brazil supplied 84 per cent or $458 million of the commodity; China, 6.14 per cent or$33 million; Turkey, 2.65per cent or$14.4 million and France, 1.7per cent or $9.28 million; Others are India, $4.18 million; Egypt, $3.69 million; Spain, $3.52 million; Ukraine, $3.23 million; Swaziland, $2.33 million and Netherlands, $1.88 million.

Brazil, which is the top supplier, exported $520.18million in 2018 and $545.75million in 2019 as demand reached 1.7 million metric tonnes in 2020. This week, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’shipping position revealed that two vessels would also berth at the Greenview Development Nigerian Limited terminal of the Lagos Port Complex to offload 91,710 tonnes of raw sugar. Expected at the port are Cledi and Desert Victory with 46,000 tonnes and 45,710 tonnes of the commodity.

The data revealed that a total of 194, 050 tonnes was ferried to Lagos Port by four vessels to Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) and Greenview Nigeria Development Limited (GNDL) in August alone. Desert Hope with 52, 350tonnes offloaded its cargoat ABTL of the port, while SBI Bravo with 49,000tonnes, Almasi, 46,400tonnes and Genco Provence 46,300tonnes called at GDNL the same period. Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Dr Latif Busari has assured that the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) would not affect the Federal Government backward integration policy in the sugar sector. He noted that the government would no longer allow the importation of sugar into the country, saying move negates the backward integration strategy as encapsulated under the Nigeria Sugar Masterplan.

Busari explained that government was ready to build a globally competitive sugar industry, adding that the implementation of the ACFTA would not affect the plan of government for the sugar sector.

The executive secretary, who was represented by the Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr Hezekiah Kolawole, stressed that the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) had already been secured under the AfCTA, adding that the implementation of the NSMP had been classified in a section under the AfCFTA that would allow the country to continue the implementation of these programme till the very end.

He noted: “What you must export is something that you manufacture in your own country that you can export under this AfCFTA platform. The rule of origin will play out under the AFCTA platform.

We don’t have any problems with regard to AfCFTA coming into operation on January because sugar industry is among those classified for 10 years allowance for the implementation of the policy to be effected and sugar will be locally produced in Nigeria.” On the flooding that threatened over N60billion sugar investments in Niger State, Busari noted that the council would continue to provide all the necessary policy support and regulatory assistance for the sector to thrive.

It would be recalled that in January 2013, three refineries were approved by NSDC under its Backward Integration Programme (BIP), and operators were made to sign formal commitments, detailing a number of indicators by which their performance would be measured. Also, raw sugar quotas at concessionary tariff of five per cent duty and five per cent levy were allocated to operators on the basis of performance of their BIP projects.

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