Three Nigerian conglomerates – Dangote Group, Flour Mills and BUA Group are currently locked in a bitter war over production and export of sugar. Chairman of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Chairman of Flour Mills Nigeria, Mr. John Coumantaros, had on January 28,2021, written the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, accusing BUA’s refinery in Bundu Free Trade Zone in Port Harcourt of undermining the national sugar master plan, NSMP.
BUA Group has fought back at claims by Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria that its sugar refinery “poses a threat” to the Nigerian local sugar industry.
The NSMP is a policy road map for sugar production introduced in 2013 to achieve self-sufficiency in sugar production and save foreign exchange on the importation of sugar and ethanol.
In the joint letter, Dangote and Coumantaros alleged that the sugar refinery in Port Harcourt was built with the intention to undermine the NSMP, and asked the minister to investigate the quantity of raw sugar imported by BUA’s sugar refinery, with a view to imposing on the company 60 percent duty and 10 percent levy.
Calling for a fair and discipline implementation of the NSMP by the regulator, the Nigerian Sugar Development Council, NSDC, the duo stated in the letter: “Publicly available information suggests that BUA International, one of the players in the sugar industry, has commissioned a sugar plant in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. ‘’With the new refinery, the country’s refining capacity goes from 2.75 million metric tones to 3.4 million metric tones per annum, or from 170 percent over capacity over last year’s import quota to over 210 percent capacity.
“This investment in the Port Harcourt refinery was clearly done with the intention to undermine the NSMP. We are particularly surprised by the brazenness as we believe that the choice of location and the publicity campaign behind the investment has been deliberately engineered to provoke public sentiment and put the Federal Republic of Nigeria against its people.”
They also asked the ministry to ensure that no additional allocation of quota was given for raw, very high polarity sugar or refined sugar for the refinery in Port Harcourt for local market production.