Only three companies in Nigeria, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Golden Sugar Company, owned by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and BUA Sugar Refinery Limited have met the requirement to import sugar into the country the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.
The apex bank, in a circular yesterday, cited reasonable progress in achieving backward integration in the sector, made by the companies, as reason for their selection.
The circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, CBN, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, a copy of which was posted on the regulator’s website, read: “The Federal Government of Nigeria under the National Sugar Development Council established the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan to encourage and incentivise sugar refining companies in their Backward Integration Programme (BIP) for local sugar production.
“Accordingly, the underlisted three companies, who have made reasonable progress in achieving backward integration in the sector, shall only be allowed to import sugar into the country.”
The CBN said in the light of the development, view of the foregoing, authorised dealers “shall not open Form ‘M’ or, access foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market for any company, including the three listed above for the importation of sugar,” without its prior or express approval.
It further noted that it is charged with the mandate of monitoring the implementation of the backward integration programmes of all the companies in the sector.
Nigeria’s National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) was designed to attract over $1 billion annually in local and foreign direct investments and create an estimated 107,000 jobs over the first ten years. The aim is to Its aim is to increase local production of sugar, to enable the country attain self-sufficiency; stem the tide of unbridled importation; create huge number of job opportunities and contribute to the production of ethanol and generation of electricity.
The plan also estimates that demand for sugar would have reached the 1.7 million metric tonnes (MMT) mark by 2020. Therefore, in order to achieve this, the NSMP estimates that the country would 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 this investment is expected to come from private investors