The Federal Government has banned the importation of refined sugar and its derivatives from the country’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs).
The action of the Federal Government is part of its efforts to protect the sugar industry which is governed by the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
The ban is contained in a letter by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos to one of the terminal operators in the Lagos Port Complex as a result of a directive from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
According to a report from Thisday, the letter from NPA dated April 8, 2021, and titled ‘RE: Prohibition of Importation of Sugar from the Free Trade Zones into the Nigerian Customs Territory,’ was signed by Mr Buba Jubril for the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex.
What the NPA letter is saying
The letter from NPA to the terminal port operator states, “We have for reference a letter from Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment ref: HMIT1/GEN/ CORR/008/ VOL. I, dated February 15, 2021, on the above subject.
It has recently come to our notice that due to the recent location of a Sugar Refinery in a Free Trade Zone, Refined Sugar is being imported into the Nigerian Customs Territory under the concession granted to enterprises in the Free Trade Zones to export 100 per cent of their output to the Nigerian Customs Territory, and this is real potential threat to the goals of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
The Nigeria Sugar Industry is governed by the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP). The NSMP provides a framework for motivating investment in the local production of Refined Sugar by securing the Nigerian Sugar market for investors in the Backward Integration Program (BIP). It does this by providing import sugar allocations for Raw Sugar to recognised investors based on the performance on the BIP and guided recognition of their installed refining capacity.
Your Terminal is hereby informed by this letter that, in order to protect our national interest and ensure the returns in the Federal Government’s investment in the NSMP are realised, and in line with extant laws and regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, importation of Refined Sugar and all other sugar derivatives from the Free Trade Zones into the Nigerian Customs Territory is here prohibited by the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.”
The letter also added that the terminal operator is expected to ensure strict compliance with the directive.
In case you missed this
It can be recalled that on April 16, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced plans by the Federal Government to include sugar in its forex restriction list.
This is to help conserve the scarce foreign exchange and encourage Nigerian manufacturers to produce this item locally rather than import them.