No fewer than 13 vessels have offloaded 484,040 tonnes of raw sugar worth N111.3 billion ($242 million) at the Lagos Port in the last three and half months. It was learnt that more sugar had come into the country since the beginning of last quarter following the poor implementation of National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), which has not yielded positive results since 2013.
Even through the sugar master plan will terminate in 2022, currently, the country’s production capacity is less than 300,000 tonnes. According to International Trade Centre (ITC), Nigeria imported $463,387,000 worth of raw sugar in 2019 to become the second largest importer of the commodity in Africa. Last week, four vessels offloaded 193,990 tonnes of the commodity at Greenview Development Nigerian Limited (GDNL) Apapa Bulk Termial Limited (ABTL), Lagos Port.
According to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)’s shipping position, Magda P berthed with 46,500 tonnes; Leto, 48,740 tonnes; CL Edi, 46,000 tonnes and Desert Osprey with 52,750 tonnes. Also, two ships have arrived at Lagos Port with 96,500 metric tonnes of raw sugar in October. At the GDNL, Kirana Naree arrived with 46,000 tonnes, while Genco Brittany came with 46,500 tonnes.
A total of 194, 050 tonnes was also discharged by four vessels at ABTL and GNDL in September. SBI Bravo offloaded 49,000 tonnes, Almasi, 46,400 tonnes and Genco Provence, 46300 tonnes have been moored at GDNL, while Desert Hope discharged 52,350 tonnes at ABTL of the port. In August 2020, a total of 138,115 tonnes of the commodity was ferried by three vessels to Lagos Port complex, with Hinoki laden with 46,900 tonnes; Spar Mira, 46,500 tonnes and Aruna Ece, 44,715 tonnes. In 2020, it is projected that the country would need 1.7 million metric tonnes to meet local consumption.
As part of efforts to boost local production, government introduced 20 per cent import duty and 75 per cent levy on refined sugar this year. Also, raw sugar quotas at the concessionary tariff of five per cent duty and five per cent levy were allocated by the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) to operators on the basis of performance of their BIP projects.
It was gathered that part of the incentives to boost domestic production of sugar include a five-year tax for investors in the value chain; 10 per cent import duty and 50 per cent levy on imported raw sugar; 20 per cent duty and 60 per cent levy for imported refined sugar.
However, findings by New Telegraph revealed that domestic production by sugar firms had fallen by 6.25 per cent from 80,000 metric tonnes to 75,000 tonnes per cent since 2019 due to flood and lack of infrastructure to meet local demand. Mostly affected recently is Sunti Golden Sugar Estate (SGSE), owned by Flour Mills, which has suffered some disruptions to its operations as floodwater breached its sugar estate.
According to the Company Secretary, Umolu Joseph A, the floods were as a result of the long rainfalls recorded recently at the northern and central parts of the Niger basin. He stressed that the floods were triggered by severe downpours at the Sokoto Rima basin, forcing the Kainji and Jeba dams to witness upsurge in the lateral flow of water.