By Franklin Ocheneyi
IT’S been five years since the Federal Government banned the importation of Sugar in retail packs into the country.
Recall that the ban was enforced 1st January, 2013 through the National Sugar Development Council, NSDC, to stimulate domestic production of sugar towards National Self-sufficiency.
Five years down the lane, what has been the effect of the restriction on companies in the sector?
In a public notice, NSDC while maintain that the ban is still in force, said “All imported sugar in retail packs in the market today are smuggled.”
The Council therefore urged Nigerian consumers and people in the business to “Reject smuggled sugar. Don’t buy and Don’t Sell imported sugar in retail packs.”
DOGAN’s Sugar Limited, one of the packaged sugar manufacturers in Nigeria, noted that smuggling the commodity into the country is threatening investments which the cube sugar manufacturers have put in place.
Mr. Okan Ozkan, the company’s Managing Director, noted that despite the ban placed on the St’ Louis brand of packaged sugar, the product is still seen in major shops and retail outlets in the country, stressing that such development isn’t healthy for local producers of same commodity.
“I understand government has since banned this product. But we continue to see them in the market. I doubt if some Nigerians are aware that St Louis packaged sugar is a contraband product,” he said. He wants the Sugar Council to look into the issue, stressing that the development is capable of chasing companies like his own out of business.
“The total cube sugar market in Nigeria is not more than 250,000 metric tonnes”
- Why we are not manufacturing cube sugar –Dangote Sugar
Dangote Sugar Refinery, the biggest investor in the sector by volume and by value, however, said that it was not into the cube sugar business.
“The cube business in Nigeria is actually a small business segment. Even when St. Louis was allowed to bring its sugar into Nigeria, the maximum they were able to bring was about 200,000 metric tonnes out of the 1.5 million metric tonnes of sugar consume in Nigeria. So, the total cube sugar market in Nigeria is not more than 250,000 metric tonnes because even when St. Louis was bringing, there are one or two local companies that were also making their own cubes. So, if you look at the total of what is consumed as cube sugar in Nigeria, it is not more than 250, 000 metric tonnes maximum in the country. So, as Dangote Sugar, we are more interest in large volume business. That is why we are not in that market,” said the company in a statement