BUA Group, one of Nigeria’s leading manufacturing conglomerate has assured Nigerians that its sugar export-focused project in Port Harcourt, will checkmate arbitrary price hike in the sugar industry and create jobs for Nigerians.
This disclosure was contained in a letter written by Abdulsamad Rabiu, the Chairman and Founder of the BUA Group, to the Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Niyi Adebayo.
The letter was a response to the Minister’s request for information on the status and operations of the BUA Sugar Refinery at the Bundu Free Trade Zone in Nigeria, noting that the Minister’s demand for more information was triggered by another letter jointly written by Aliko Dangote of Dangote Industries and John Coumantaros of Flour Mills Nigeria Plc.
In reaction to this, Abdulsamad explained that what BUA is doing in the Sugar Industry is legal and within the confines of the law. In line with this, the billionaire explained that the only way BUA’s export-focused project will affect Nigerians is that Nigerians will pay lower prices for sugar.
He noted that the company had spent over $250 million on the Port Harcourt project, which currently employs over 1,000 Nigerians. In line with this, any move to shut the project down or stifle its operations will cost jobs and exert pressures on the country’s economy.
According to him, the Group’s project in Port Harcourt is mainly for exports, however, the company is allowed to do so under the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), as the NEPZA Act upon which the project is based, gives the permission to process, add value, and export at the same time.
Hence any move to tamper with the current approval of the sugar project in Bundu Free Trade Zone will have a significant economic impact capable of eroding investors’ confidence under the Export Processing Zones (EPZ).
What you should know
- Nigeria’s sugar refining capacity had increased to 3.4 million metric tons per annum from 2.75 million metric tons per annum. This shows that the refining capacity increased from 170% over the last year’s import quota to over 210%.
- Abdulsamad in his letter revealed that BUA remained the only company of the three dominant players (Dangote Sugar Refinery and Flour Mills), spending serious money and seeking to complete its BIP project by 2022.
- BUA in total has three sugar holdings in Nigeria, the first one is a 720,000 mt sugar refinery in Apapa, Lagos, which commenced operation in 2008 and is covered by the Backward Implementation Programme of the National Sugar Master Plan.
- The second is a 20.000-hectare Lafiagi Sugar Plantation and Ethanol Production Complex (Also covered by the NSMP), while the third is the export-focused sugar refinery at the Bundu Free Zone in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.