National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has commenced moves to address issues relating to the implementation of zero-import duty incentive on machinery as contained in the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).
At a meeting in Abuja with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other stakeholders in the country’s ports yesterday, NSDC executive secretary, Zacch Adedeji, expressed concern that the sugar consumption rate in the country is around 1.5 million metric tonnes and the nation has a target of producing 1.7 million metric tonnes.
Adedeji said the council is also not unaware of challenges that operators in the industry are confronted with in their efforts to fulfill their part of the bargain in the NSMP.
For instance, the issue of leveraging the zero-import duty in importation of machinery they use for both factory and field operations.
He said the meeting had become important as the Council is daily receiving complaints and reports from them in this respect.
The executive secretary said the need to address the cost associated with machinery acquisition and their use by the operators had become important.
He said machinery is equally important and germane to the process of NSMP and the need for sugar operators to carry out their activities in strict compliance with the provision of the master plan.
“We require your participation and commitment to build a strong productive and economically -viable sector that will provide jobs for our teaming youths and increase our national revenue generating profile as well as generate our electricity for industrial use as captured in NSMP,” he said.
Adedeji further stated that sugar self-sufficiency drive is predicated on the backward integration programme of the government which is aimed at growing local sugar production to end the regime of importation of the commodity as it is at present the case and the implementation of zero import duty incentive on machinery as contained in the NSMP is mandatory to make it happen.
According to him, the sugar sector, given its numerous opportunities, occupies a significant position in the programme and economic agenda of the present administration.
“The council as a responsible and responsive agency of government is committed to delivering on its core mandate which is largely on attending this efficiency in sugar production for local consumption and subsequent export,” he added.