The ban was issued by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, to safeguard national interests and achieve the objectives of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), a policy road map for sugar development.
A letter from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to one of the terminal operators at the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC) in Apapa, Lagos, stated the prohibition.
Buba Jubril signed the letter on behalf of the Lagos Ports Complex’s port manager on April 8.
“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 percent 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).
“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 are here prohibited by the honourable minister, ministry of industry, trade and investment.
In view of the above, your terminals are by this letter directed to ensure strict compliance with this directive. Please accept as always the assurances of our esteemed regards”.
The ban was imposed as a consequence of a conflict between Dangote Industries Limited, BUA Group, and Nigerian Flour Mills.
In a letter to the Minister, Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria argued that BUA’s sugar refinery is a challenge to the local sugar industry and undermines the Nigerian sugar master plan (NSMP).
Meanwhile, BUA replied by claiming that Dangote and Mr. John Coumantaros, Chairman of Nigerian Flour Mills, are bringing into doubt the “authority of the President’s control and the vigilance of the trade ministry.”