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Nigeria imports 350 million litres of ethanol yearly as experts suggest solutions


Sir: We refer to an article published in your highly esteemed newspaper, The Guardian, on May 13, 2019 by one Mr. Femi Ibirogba under the title “Nigeria imports 350m litres of ethanol yearly as experts suggest solutions.”

In the write-up, our company, Unikem Industries Limited (although our name wrongly spelt as Unichem) was mentioned as indeed a key player in ethanol production in Nigeria. However, Mr Ibirogba conveyed a misleading narrative that the local producers of ethanol are incapable of meeting the local demands of ethanol in the country. Nothing could be further from the truth on this. And this is where we are constrained to state things correctly particularly as it relates to our company.

True, Nigeria is probably the largest producer of cassava in the world, producing an estimated 40 million tonnes per year and cassava is the main raw material used for ethanol production in the country, supported by the small quantity of molasses available from the sugar producers. However, the annual requirement of ethanol in the country is about 160 million litres and this can be sufficiently met by the local producers led mainly by Unikem Industries Ltd and Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited.


Unikem, represented by its subsidiary, Unicane Industries Ltd located in Lokoja, Kogi State is presently a guaranteed buyer of cassava and molasses from every part of the country and with ethanol output building up to 140 million litres per annum by 2020 – close to 90% of the national requirement. Allied Atlantic Distilleries Limited, Ota, Ogun State is next primary producer of ethanol. There are other ethanol producers and projects in the offing, talk less of the huge plant expansion that is currently going on in Lokoja by Unicane. Hence the country will even have excess capacity in coming years, with prospects of exports to neighbouring countries.

As an incentive to local investors in ethanol production in the country, we strongly support the call on the Federal Government to increase the import tariff on all grades of ethanol coming into the country. This also has the added advantage of galvanizing cassava farming in the country which is in sync with the government’s agricultural development policies.

As said earlier, this contribution is intended to correct the half-truth put out by Mr. Ibirogba in his article.
Amer Matar, general manager, Unikem Industries Limited.

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Unikem Industries Limited
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