The Federal Government has banned the importation of refined sugar and its derivatives from the country’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs).
The development followed a confrontation between the country’s two prominent businessmen, Aliko Dangote and BUA founder, Abdulsamad Rabiu.
Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria had in a letter to the federal government said the local sugar industry is at risk due to BUA’s sugar refinery activities in the country.
They claimed that BUA sugar refinery undermines the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
BUA in its reaction claimed the letter was questioning President Muhammadu Buhari’s authority.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, gave the directive in a letter sent by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, to one of the terminal operators in the Lagos Port Complex.
He said the decision was taken in the national interest.
The letter read: “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 of Industry, Trade and Investment.