NIGERIA – Nigeria imported $227 million worth of sugar in the first seven months of this year, a report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed.

According to the CBN’s compilation of funds used for sugar imports obtained by Bloomberg yesterday, the highest monthly value of imports of $79.1 million was recorded in June.

The import, according to investigation, will hit $227 Million at the 2016/2017 price of $242.5 per metric ton. Already, local production has dropped to 70,000 metric tons, a decline of over seven per cent from the 2015 estimate of 75,000 tons.

It is feared that the decline in local production, which was linked with poor infrastructure, would prevent local supplies from meeting the rising sugar consumption in the country over the next five years.

Also, a data from United States Department of Trade (USDT) revealed that the Nigeria imported 1,470,000 metric tons of sugar in 2015. In the last seven years, the country has imported 9,975,000 metric tons of sugar through the Lagos Ports Complex.

A data obtained through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position, revealed that in 2008, some 1,485,000 were ferried to the country; 2009 – 1, 185, 000 metric tons; 2010 – 1,431, 000 metric tons; 2011- 1,495, 000 metric tons; 2012 – 1,399,000 metric tons; 2013 -1,450,000 metric tons and 2014, 1,470,000 metric tons.

A study by the National Sugar Development Council revealed that Nigeria would need $1.238 billion to meet 49 per cent or 860,000 metric tons of the total sugar demand by 2020. The country still depends on refined imported raw brown sugar from Brazil worth over $500 million annually.

Meanwhile, the CBN has debunked reports that it has liquidated a deposit money bank even as it reiterated that Skye bank which recently had a change in board and management is distressed.

The apex bank in a statement signed by the acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okoroafor, issued yesterday, said its attention has been drawn to the content of a malicious message urging customers of Skye Bank to withdraw their deposits or transfer them to other banks.

The malicious message according to the apex bank is based on the vile allegation that Skye Bank has been liquidated by the CBN. It however stated “emphatically that it has not liquidated Skye Bank or any other Deposit Money Bank for that matter.”

Urging customers of Skye bank to disregard any message purporting a liquidation of the bank, the CBN reiterated its earlier assurance that Skye Bank is not in distress and remains a healthy bank in the Nigerian banking system.

“Indeed, the health of the Nigerian banking system remains strong, all banks in Nigeria are safe and depositors have no cause to fear over their deposits,” he said.

While it will be recalled that Skye Bank had corporate governance challenges, the CBN has since taken proactive steps to resolve the issues identified. Indeed, the CBN is satisfied with the efforts of the new management to reposition Skye Bank for effective service delivery.

August 18, 2016;