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$620m spent on sugar importation in 2012 - NSDC

By The Citizen
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Nigeria spent $620m on the importation of raw sugar last year, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council, Dr. Latif Busari, said in Abuja on Sunday.

Busari, who stated this at a forum organised the News Agency of Nigeria, expressed regret that those who imported the raw material did not pay levies on more than 99 per cent of the imports.

The executive secretary, while noting that the country spent the average of $500m on sugar importation annually, said the bill might go up going by the demand for the commodity.

Busari sai, 'Right now, we spend, on the average, $500m importing raw sugar; last year, we spent actually about $620m importing raw sugar, and going forward, we believe it may go up a little bit, then it will start coming down.

'Because the demand for sugar, according to our projection, is going up a little bit; but then, as it is going up, we are putting in place measures to start local production.

'We believe that once we have all these investors in place and they start producing, as I said mainly from 2018, the import bill should start gradually reducing.'

Busari expressed the hope that the country could save and use the money spent on sugar importation for economic development as soon as it started local production of the commodity on the level that could achieve self-sufficiency.

He said levies were not paid on over 99 per cent of the sugar imported into the country because of waivers granted to importers by government.