By Franklin Alli
DOMESTIC sugar manufacturers imported over 1.4 million metric tonnes of raw sugar into the country in the first half of 2017 (H1’17). The imports were maily as raw material for final consumer sugar refinery.
Three key importers are Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Sugar Refinery and Golden Sugar Refinery, a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.
Data on sugar importation in H1’17, obtained from the National Sugar Development Council, NSDC, showed that 693,436 metric tonnes of the commodity were imported in the first quarter of the year, while 739,978 metric tonnes were imported in the second quarter.
The breakdown further showed that Dangote Sugar imported the highest volume within the period – 850,929 metric tonnes of the commodity, followed by BUA which imported 291,010 metric tonnes and Golden Sugar 281,475 metric tonnes.
Benchmark for importation
According to NSDC, the federal government has introduced new guidelines and benchmark for importation of raw sugar by the sugar producers, effective from 2018.
In a statement, Dr. Latif Busari, Executive Secretary of NSDC, disclosed that in the new guidelines, operators are required to submit their requests for sugar allocation for any year in December of the preceding year, adding that the 2017 allocation would be the last sugar allocation on the old criteria, including market share and refinery capacity.
According to him, the key performance indicators (KPIs) for accessing and scoring Backward Integration Project, BIP, performance shall be the quantity of land developed and target for the year. Other indicators, he said, would be mill development and factory operation, sugar produced in tonnes, and jobs created for the year.
Busari said that to ensure compliance, government would put in place sanctions for poor BIP performance. “Any operator that fails to achieve performance target for the year, based on BIP commitments as released by the Joint Harmonisation meeting, shall be penalised for poor performance, with reduction in quota commensurate with performance,” he said.