By Francis Ogwo
About 13 vessels have offloaded 484,040 tonnes of raw sugar worth N111.3 billion at the Lagos Port in the past three and half months.
According to reports, the poor implementation of National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) implemented since 2013 has led to more importation of sugar into the country in the last few months.
The sugar master plan which has expiration date of 2022 still has the country producing less than 300,000 tonnes.
Reports from the International Trade Centre (ITC) revealed that in 2019 Nigeria imported $463,387,000 worth of raw sugar to become the second largest importer of the commodity in Africa.
It was further revealed that last week, four vessels offloaded 193,990 tonnes of the commodity at Greenview Development Nigerian Limited (GDNL) Apapa Bulk Termial Limited (ABTL), Lagos Port.
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, 46,300 tonnes have been moored at GDNL, while Desert Hope discharged 52,350 tonnes at ABTL of the port.
Also, 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.
There have been calls for the expansion of the production of various agricultural commodities for both local consumption and export towards boosting the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of the country.