The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the restriction of the importation of sugar into the country to only 3 companies.

The Publisher Nigeria learnt that the apex bank said only BUA Sugar Refinery Limited, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and Golden Sugar Company can be allowed to import sugar into the country through any of the official foreign exchange sources.

The decision by the CBN is because of the reasonable progress made by the 3 firms in achieving backward integration, a programme introduced by the Federal Government, in the sector.

This disclosure is contained in a circular with reference number TED/FEM/PUB/FPC/01/006, issued on Friday, July 16, 2021, and signed by CBN’s Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr Ozoemena Nnaji.

The CBN in the circular to all authorized dealers said that henceforth, no company outside the aforementioned 3 firms should be allowed to open Form M or allowed to access foreign exchange from the foreign exchange market to import sugar into the country without its prior or express approval.

What the CBN Circular is saying

The circular from the CBN reads, “The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the National Sugar Development Council, established the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan to encourage and incentivise sugar refining companies in their Backward Integration Programme for local sugar production.

“Accordingly, the underlisted three companies, who have made reasonable progress in achieving backward integration in the sector, shall only be allowed to import sugar into the country: BUA Sugar Refinery Limited, Dangote Sugar Refinery Pic and Golden Sugar Company.

“In view of the foregoing, authorised dealers shall not open Forms M or access foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market for any company including the three listed above for the importation of sugar without the prior and express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the bank is charged with the mandate of monitoring the implementation of the backward integration programmes of all the companies.”

What you should know

It can be recalled in April 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced plans to include sugar and wheat in the foreign exchange restriction list as part of measures to conserve foreign exchange and boost local production of these items.

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Also, in April 2021, the Federal Government through a letter issued by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), banned the importation of refined sugar and its derivatives from the country’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs).

The action of the Federal Government is part of its efforts to protect the sugar industry which is governed by the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

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Nigeria is reported to currently spend between $600 million to $1 billion on sugar importation every year.

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