Dangote has petitioned Trade Ministry, demanding that BUA Sugar Refinery should be shut down.
NewsOne Nigeria reports that the chairman Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, has petitioned the ministry of investment, trade and investment, demanding that BUA Group Sugar refinery in Port Harcourt be shut down.
This online news platform understands that in a letter dated January 28, 2021, Dangote said the sugar refinery posses a threat to the attainment of the country’s National Sugar Master Plan(NSMP) and the sustainability of Nigeria’s local sugar industry.
According to the letter which was signed by Dangote, the Nigerian billionaire claimed that when the BUA Sugar refinery was opened , he warned the Federal Government and that he was told that’ no new refinery would be allowed to operate in Nigeria’.
In the letter, Dangote accused BUA of operating with impunity by contavening the laws as laid down in the National sugar policy by selling it’s products locally instead of producing for export alone.
However, in its own defence sent to the Honourable Minister of Trade, BUA clarified issues by stating that the law allows it to sell inside Nigeria. This was even as it warned that Dangote group and the other major player have not been involved in any backward integration project, rather they depend on 80% raw sugar allocation which is detrimental to the Nigerian economy in long term analysis. BUA on the other hand has been involved in backward integration project with BUA’s Lafiagi Sugar BIP set to be completed in 2022.
NewsOne Nigeria understands that over 250million dollars is believed to have been spent on the export focused BUA sugar refinery already and it is also employing over 1,000 Nigerians.
Also, BUA noted that at the centre of this fight to force the Federal Government to close BUA Sugar refinery down is the price war.
According to insiders, sugar sold for around 18,000 Naira per bag before Ramadan 2020, but as Ramadan fasting started the price jumped to 30,000 per bag.
“The people had no choice but to buy it because they needed a lot of it during the period. So the manufacturers were smiling to the bank,” industry players said.
NewsOne Nigeria gathered that BUA group noticed the trend and decided that it had to change, noting that there was no reason to increase the price during Ramadan simply because the demand is high.
The increase in price of sugar NewsOne Nigeria understands that, happens about one month to commencement of fasting.
It was learned that when the other manufacturers got across to BUA, Samad Rabiu refused. They put pressure on him, saying it was the right time to make good money but he put his feet down. After failing to do that, they petitioned the Federal Government that he was breaking the law by selling sugar locally instead of for export.
Meanwhile, NewsOne Nigeria gathered that BUA group has dragged the Trade Minister to court to ensure that the operations of the sugar refinery is not tampered with all because of the desperate attempt by Dangote Group to monopolize the sugar trade in Nigeria.
Copies of the letters from Dangote to the Minister, the Minister’s letter to BUA as well as BUA’s reply to the Minister has been obtained by our reporter.