Data from the International Trade Center show that Nigeria imported plastics, medications, and sugar worth $10.98 billion between 2020 and 2021. The country spent $1.82 billion on sugar goods, $4.21 billion on medicinal items, and $4.95 billion on plastic products during the period under study.
China, the Korean Republic, Saudi Arabia, India, the United States of America, India, Netherlands, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, and Switzerland were a few of the nations from where these items were sourced.
Cane or beet sugar, chemically pure sucrose, chemically pure lactose, maltose, glucose, and fructose, sugar syrups, artificial honey, caramel, molasses, and sugar confectionery without cocoa, including white chocolate, were among the sugars and sugar confectionery products imported, according to the ITC.
Pharmaceutical products included: dried glands and other organs for organo-therapeutic uses; extracts of glands or other organs or their secretions, for organo-therapeutic uses; heparin and its salts; other human or animal substances prepared for therapeutic or prophylactic uses; human blood; animal blood prepared for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostic uses; antisera and other blood fractions and immunological products; vaccines, toxins, cultures of micro-organisms (excluding yeasts), among others.
Plastics products imported included: polymers of ethylene in primary forms; silicones in primary forms; petroleum resins; cellulose and its chemical derivatives; waste, parings, and scrap, of plastics; tubes, pipes, and hoses, and fittings, among others.
It also included baths, shower-baths, sinks, washbasins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats, and covers; flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware, of plastics; articles for the conveyance or packaging of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps, and other closures, of plastics; tableware, kitchenware, other household articles, and toilet articles, of plastics (excluding baths, shower-baths, washbasins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats and covers, flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware), among others.
Sugar made from cane or beets as well as chemically pure sucrose are illegal or subject to import restrictions in the country.
Among the items that are prohibited from receiving foreign currency directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria are kitchen utensils, plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers, and sugar.
Only BUA Sugar Refinery Ltd, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, and Golden Sugar Company are authorized to import sugar into the country, per a CBN decision.
Mr. Zacch Adedeji, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Sugar Development Council, claimed that the country spent a lot of money importing around 1.7 million metric tons of refined sugar.
He said, “Currently, the demand for sugar in Nigeria is around 1.7 million metric tonnes annually and this comes from two main sectors: the food and drink manufacturing and retail markets.
“It will interest you to know that the sugar sector in Nigeria can generate massive jobs in Kwara, Kogi, Adamawa, Niger, Oyo, Ondo, and Nasarawa states. Given that every 100 hectares of sugar cane plantation can employ up to 20 workers, it is conceivable that the sugar sector can support, on a sustainable basis, up to hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Secondly, with a fully self-sufficient sugar sector, the country can preserve over $500m of forex spent on importation of raw sugar annually. And the government can save over $5bn of foreign exchange if self-sufficiency is attained.”