NIGERIA – Nigeria’s sugar production has failed to reach the set target by 510,000 tons over a period of four years to August 2018, blamed on massive importation of the commodity, New Telegraph reports.

Nigeria has allowed sugar producers to import refined sugar into the country but their inability to meet the projected target every year has led to a short fall of 510,000 of sugar in the last four years instead of 800,000 tons surplus.

The concession agreement granted to sugar producers requires them to produce 200,000 tons of refined sugar locally to enable the country achieve self-sufficiency.

But importers are leaning on such agreements and sugar master plans to import the commodity contrary to the requirements of the Nigerian Sugar Development Council (NSDC).

NSDC requires the sugar importers to pay 80% levy, 10% duty for raw sugar, 20% duty and 85% levy for refined sugar.

In 2018, sugar production was at 80,000 tons compared to 75,000 tonnes produced in 2015 and 2017; and 70,000 tons in 2016.

Low production for the year 2017 was blamed on challenges such as smuggling, flooding and access to land because of community hostility to sugar projects.

Sugar master plan

Major sugar refineries in Nigeria recently signed the revised edition of the Backward Integration Programme (BIP) for the sugar sector.

With the implementation of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), Nigeria targets to attain 1.79 million metric tons of sugar between 2020 and 2023 given its potential.

Dangote sugar has invested US$334.14 million into the Backward Integrated Plan (BIP) chart followed by BUA Sugar refinery, US$107 million and Golden Sugar Refinery, US$142.36 million within the period.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s unveiled the anchor borrowers’ programme to improve sugar production by 12.5%.

Despite of such interventions, the country would still rely on 1.6 million tons of sugar from its major sellers Brazil, Thailand and United States in 2018 to meet local demand.

According to Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Latif Busari, the country could save between US$350 million and US$500 million annually on foreign exchange and possibly generate an additional 411 megawatts of electricity.

Nigeria imported 548,772 metric tons of sugar valued at US$278.4 million this year.

Due to growing demand for the commodity, NSDC said that Nigeria would need US$1.238 billion to meet 49 per cent of the total sugar demand by 2020.