The management of BUA group in a five pages response to allegation by the Chairman, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, alongside Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Mr. John Coumantaros, that establishment of a new sugar refinery plant in the country poses a threat to the attainment of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) as well as sustainability of the country’s local sugar industry, said, Dangote’s petition came after it had refused to succumb to their pressure to increase its price.
In a joint petition to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, dated January 28, 2021, Chairman, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, alongside Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Mr. John Coumantaros, argued that they had in 2019, warned about the risk of establishing a new refinery, adding that they got assurances that in line with the federal government’s policy on Backward Integration Programme (BIP), “no new refinery will be allowed to operate in Nigeria”.
They argued that “Even before its surreptitious investment in additional refining capacity, Nigeria already has enough refining capacity to satisfy demand today well into the future.
“The impunity with which BUA has contravened the provisions of the NSMP has placed the other players who are abiding by the regulations, not only at a significant disadvantage but has discouraged them from undertaking the huge investments that would deliver the desired objective of 100 per cent local production of sugar, unless, of course, the ministry wades in and addresses the situation, they added.
Daily Post reported that in its reaction, BUA, in a letter dated February 11, 2021, addressed to the Minister, took “serious exception to the ludicrous claims by its two major competitors that it aims to circumvent the BIP of the sugar industry.”
BUA disclosed that in 2020, before Ramadan, sugar was sold for around 18,000 Naira per bag, but as the Ramadan fasting began, the price skyrocketed to 30,000 per bag, the increase in sugar price during the Ramadan and other festive periods by the Dangote company was needless.
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BUA accused Dangote of exploiting Nigerians by increasing the price of his products particularly when its been needed and people have no choice than to patronise.
BUA vowing to frustrate the alleged decision by the Dangote group to monopolize Sugar trade in the country, stated that though the Port Harcourt refinery is mainly for exports, BUA is allowed under the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Act and current approvals/rules to intervene locally in order to stabilise sugar price, “where it is absolutely necessary- in the face of arbitrary price increases and collusion to force scarcity of the product locally”.
He said:”The same NEPZA Act upon which this project is based, gives the permission to process, add value, and export at the same time. Companies under this act are allowed to process and if they so wish, sell 100 per cent of their production in Nigeria with payment of duties based on the current raw materials tariff.
“As a matter of fact, Aliko Dangote of Dangote Industries, who is one of the complainants alleging and attacking to this approval has also applied and obtained the same approval for his refinery project in Lekki, Lagos State where he is currently enjoying the same benefits of being in an Export Processing Zone (EPZ).”
He added:”What BUA sugar is doing is legal and within the confines of the law. We have not done nor are we doing anything wrong.”
Nationalwatchng, recalls that Nigerians took to social media earlier in the week to criticise, the price variety in cement price, in Nigeria and Zambia.
Nigerians complained that while a bag of Dangote 3x cement produced in Nigeria sales at, 55 Kwasha, (N1,500), in Zambia, the same cement produced in the country sales higher at N3000.
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