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How BUA, others abuse sugar concession pact – Council

The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has revealed that some companies  have flouted the terms and conditions for obtaining a three-year low tariffs for sugar…

The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has revealed that some companies  have flouted the terms and conditions for obtaining a three-year low tariffs for sugar importation into the country.
The Executive Secretary of the council, Dr. Abdullatif Demola Busari, made the revelation at a roundtable forum with journalists in Abuja yesterday.
In January 2013, the Federal Government approved concessionary low tariffs of 5 per cent duty and 5 per cent levy for raw sugar import for three companies including the BUA Group as against the 5 per cent duty and 70 per cent levy contained in the National Sugar Policy.
The Executive Secretary said though the high tariffs for refined sugar import into the country was deliberately designed to discourage importation and encourage local production of sugar, the concession became necessary in order not to hike the local price of the commodity since the country has not achieved self-sufficiency in sugar production yet.
He said Nigeria still depends on sugar importation to meet 90 per cent of local demand and that led to the plea by stakeholders that if sugar is to be imported at that high tariff level, the cost of sugar to the consumers will be prohibitive.
The concession was then given to Dangote, BUA and Golden Sugar companies that had signed a Backward Integration Programme (BIP) commitment with the federal government in which the money saved from the concession will be invested in thier farms where they can source sugar locally.
The target is by the year 2018, the three of them will be able to produce 700 000 metric tons of sugar sourced locally from thier farms.
“One particular refiner, the BUA, has not lived up to expectation. Just about three weeks ago, the Sugar Council had to apply the sanction. The sanction is simple. Recall the concession of 5 per cent levy, 5 per cent duty because you are expected to put the savings back to your BIP and we’ve been monitoring the BIP and nothing has happened,” the NSDC boss revealed.
He said from investigations, the BUA Group’s BIP site in Kwara State has nothing to show for the three years the company enjoyed concessionary low tariffs for sugar imports.
“By now, it supposed to have over 400 hecters of cane in the site. It supposed to have brought in its machineries by now. That is, by March 2015 it supposed to have imported it’s machineries but nothing like that has happened,” he said.
 

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