Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC (DSR) on Thursday said it does not engage in price-fixing or has never raised prices of its products during the Holy month of Ramadan.
According to the company, it considers price-fixing to be unethical practice and would never engage in such as a socially responsible organisation.
“DSR does not engage in artificial price manipulation of its products, either during the Holy month of Ramadan or at any other time.
“We have never increased price of our food items or commodities during the Holy month of Ramadan in the history of our operations”, the Group Managing Director of Dangote Sugar, Ravindra Singhvi said.
The company noted that it was aware of the activities of some unscrupulous element who are engaging in demarketing of its product by spreading and sponsoring unfounded rumour through an online publication.
Speaking on efforts by DSR to ensure seamless sugar production and availability in the country, Singhvi said the company began its Backward Integration Programme (BIP) with a 10-year sugar development plan, to produce 1.5 million MT per annum of sugar from locally grown sugarcane.
The Project, he said commenced with the acquisition of large expanse of land in strategic locations such as Taraba State, Adamawa State and Nasarawa State.
To this end, three (3) BIP sugar companies; Dangote Taraba Sugar Limited, Dangote Adamawa Sugar Limited, Nasarawa Sugar Company Limited were incorporated.
The Company had commenced rehabilitation and expansion of its Sugar Factory at Numan. Sugarcane planting has also commenced in the two other BIP locations.
DSR has a responsibility to the Government, the good people of Nigeria and the Sugar Industry and all other stakeholders to protect the integrity of the Sugar industry and wishes to assure its stakeholders as follows: It will do all that is necessary to vehemently protect the integrity of the Sugar Industry.
He said the false allegations that DSR was engaging in price manipulation and not engaged in any Backward Integration Programme are geared at tarnishing the good name and brand of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and Dangote Industries Limited.
He said the sponsors of such false publication may have been on a mission to create an undue advantage to some Industry players through manipulation of the consumer’s mind.
According to him, such attempts at discrediting DSR in the past failed woefully and will continue to fail as millions of Dangote Sugar patrons are well discerning and understand the mischief of some of our competition to sway the market in their favour.
The company said the false publication may not be unconnected with its to call the attention of the government to the operations of a Sugar refinery in the Free Trade Zone in Port Harcourt, exporting refined sugar into the Custom territory, which may circumvent the National Sugar Master Plan’s (NSMP) framework and jeopardize its objectives.
It said completion was taking advantage of the location of its Port-Harcourt Refinery in the Free Trade Zone to subvert the national policy, which DSR called the attention of the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investments bona fide, via its letter to the Minister dated January 28, 2021 asking the Minister to investigate the matter.
“We believe our action is in line with our responsibility as a major stakeholder to alert the supervising Ministry on activities that would derail the plan of the Federal Government in its drive to self -sufficiency in Sugar under the NSMP,” the company said.
In a letter jointly written by DSR and Flour Mills Nigeria to the minister of trade and industry, Niyi Adebayo, it was stated that the establishment of a sugar plant by BUA International Limited in the Port Harcourt free trade zone was out of tune with export laws.
“The mid-term review conducted by the NSDC (National Sugar Development Council) was clear in its conclusions – BUA has failed to invest substantively in local production or comply with its undertakings under its BIP.
“BUA intend only on importing and refining raw sugar whilst claiming to be investing in developing sugar plantations in order to qualify for quotas to import raw sugar,” the letter to the minister stated.