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‘Smuggling inhibiting backward integration projects’

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Deputy, General Manager, Golden Sugar Company Ltd (A Flour Mills Nigeria Company), Maniatis John(left) and Quality Assurance Manager, Golden Sugar Company, Veronica Kalu-ufe at a press briefing held in Lagos to announce the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Award earlier presented to Sugar in Nice, France.

Despite the backward integration policy aimed at boosting local production of sugar cane to serve as raw sugar for sugar refineries, a subsidiary of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Golden Sugar Company Limited, has expressed concerns over the menace of smuggling citing it as slowing down local production in the country.

Although, the company described smuggling as a wider challenge for most African countries, it emphasised the need for more stringent policies to curb the menace.

The Deputy General Manager, Golden Sugar Company Limited, Maniatis Ioannis John, during a media facility tour and unveiling of its recent achievement as the winner of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) awards in Nice, France, said his company is working closely with the federal government to address the situation going forward.

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In his words: “Smuggling happens because the purveyors see opportunities, especially when the price of locally produced sugar is higher than the price of smuggled sugar. However, we will continue to invest because we believe in the Nigerian market”.

He explained that sugar refineries in Nigeria are currently sourcing raw sugar from the international market as most of the raw sugar refined in Nigeria originated from Latin America.

He added that with the federal government mandating sugar refineries to backward integrate, his company is looking forward to harvesting close to 6000 tonnes of sugar cane for its Sunti sugar estate, a quantity which he said would multiply exponentially courtesy of its expansion drive.

On the award, he described it is a major international award given to companies of developing economies and markets that have excelled in food safety requirements, stressing that Golden Sugar Company is the only African company that has met the stringent requirements for sugar production in line with global best practices.

“The GSFI is an initiative by major multinational companies, in conjunction with regulatory bodies from all over the world, with the intention of incentivizing companies mostly in the developing world for adopting global safety standards. We are extremely proud of the award because it acknowledges the entire efforts of the group throughout the years. We have always been investing in quality and food safety standards,” he said.

He noted that the company operates one of the biggest sugar refineries in Nigeria, with a capacity to process 750, 00 metric tonnes of sugar yearly, restating its commitment to the development of the sugar value chain in Nigeria.

He added that it acquired 100 per cent equity in Sunti Golden Sugar Estates Limited (SGSE), saying that the N50 billion SGSE investment in Nigeria, is a concrete example of FMN’s commitment to reduce sugar importation, make huge savings in foreign exchange, boost local capacity, and reduce unemployment by putting thousands of Nigerians to work in the agricultural sector.


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