The Federal Government has offered sugar producers participating in the Backward Integration Plan (BIP) zero duty on the imported machinery.
The Director of Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Alhaji Baba Gana Alkali, made this known during a stakeholder meeting to address import challenges faced by operators of the BIP held in Abuja yesterday.
He said the industry ministry was aware of the challenges the BIP operators face in importing machinery and would support the NSDC to solve the problem.
At the meeting, the Executive Secretary of National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Zacch Adedeji, said there were complaints regarding hurdles sugar producers face in the importation of machinery needed for both factory and field operations.
According to him, the roundtable was organised to find a solution to the problem.
He added that Nigeria has the capacity to produce the 11 million metric tons of sugar demand in Africa annually if the country succeeds in the ongoing Backward Integration Plan (BIP) in the sugar sector.
Adedeji said Nigerians consume 1.7 million metric tons of sugar annually and 250 metric hectares of land must be cultivated to meet the demand.
“Without doubt, Nigeria has all it requires to become a top player in the league of sugar-producing nations. The council is making efforts to address challenges that have incapacitated the sector over the years,” he said.
“The council has dug deep into the matter with a view to finding lasting solutions to the issue. We had paid working visits to concerned agencies on the issue, but it appears our efforts have met a brick wall,” he added.
The Deputy Director, Tax Policy of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Basheer Abdulkadir, said BIP players in the sugar industry can benefit from import duty waivers, port charges and Value Added Tax, if they follow laid down procedures, which have been automated.
He said imports of certain machinery enjoy such considerations as long as the importers provides recommendation letters from NSDC and applied through automated platforms.