The Nigerian government has issued a prohibition on the importation of refined sugar and its derivatives from the country’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs), a calculated move to foster the development of the Nigerian sugar industry regulated by the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), protect the local sugar industry from unrestrained importation, enable the country attain self-sufficiency, secure the Nigerian sugar market for investors in the Backward Integration Programme (BIP) and create job opportunities for the rising populace.
The ban, which came through a directive from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, was contained in a letter by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, dated April 8,2021, titled: ‘RE: Prohibition of Importation of Sugar from the Free Trade Zones into the Nigerian Customs Territory’ and presented to one of the terminal operators in the Lagos Port Complex.
According to the letter, signed by Baba Jubril for the port manager, Lagos Port Complex, the recent location of a sugar refinery in a free trade zone resulted in refined sugar 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. This, the NPA explained, has posed a potential threat to the goals of the NSMP.
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 are here prohibited by the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment,” the letter read in part.
The recent ban by the government comes a few days after the Central Bank of Nigeria hinted at the government’s decision to include sugar and wheat in its forex restriction list to enable the country to extend its focus towards economic diversification plans and also conserve national foreign reserves.
Frontpage October 31, 2019