FG To BUA: New Sugar Import Policy To Upscale Plantation, Tech

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The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has told the management of BUA Sugar that its new quota allocation for importing raw sugar will depend on the backward integration programme.

The Executive Secretary of the NSDC, Adedeji Zacch, disclosed this during the familiarisation visit to BUA Sugar Refinery complex at Apapa, Lagos on Tuesday.

Zacch said: “We have been allocating the quota based on having a refinery in the last five years and that has to stop because value addition with just the refinery is around 10 percent.

“What we want to focus on is the agricultural side which requires that you up-scale the cane plantation, the technology and the people because we want to target the export market and we will not be competitive if all we do is bring in raw sugar, refine and export.”

The executive secretary said the CBN is already considering including sugar on the forex restriction list which will make sourcing forex for raw sugar difficult, adding that relying on refining alone will not solve the problem.

“We are already getting calls from the National Assembly to come and justify the concessionary tariff that we have granted in the last seven years and we are looking to generate 110,000 real direct jobs from the farms and the only way to do this is to focus on the agric side,” he stated.

The Executive Director of BUA Sugar Refinery, Sivwete Godspower said: “Our operations have been badly hit by an unstable forex regime, especially as it bothers on the purchase of spare parts and raw materials and these take a toll on our business.”

The Senior General Manager, Abdulrasheed Olayiwola on the Lafiagi sugar complex, said: “When we took over, 5000 hectares was allocated from the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), but the community only let go of 3000. We felt we will not be able to do the kind of backward integration the NSDC is looking at so we acquired additional 17,000 hectares bringing it to 20,000 in all.”

“The ethanol plant is completed and ready for commissioning. The delay is due to the COVID-19 which has initially halted the manufacturers from flying in from Brazil to test run the equipment,” he noted.

Source : Daily Trust 

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