Palm oil producers seek withdrawal of 75% import duty waiver

Local palm oil and vegetable producers in the country have demanded that the Federal Government withdraw the 75 per cent import duty waiver granted to importers of crude palm oil being brought into Nigeria through the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.

The local producers including PZ Wilmer, Presco Oil Plc and Okomu Oil Plc lamented that the 75 percent waiver could best be described as nailing the coffin of the local oil palm economy and burying it.

Engr. Henry Olatujoye, President of National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) who gave insight on the impact of the 75 per cent waiver on oil palm industry operators, said the competition is seriously affecting them who have invested huge amounts of money on plants and plantations across the country.

“We have lost over N20 billion to this unguided policy and people saddled with Nigeria economic watch are looking the other side. This has to stop immediately,” Olatunjoye said.

He said that the industrial users of CPO in Nigeria have come to realize that it was very important to develop their own plantation to sustain their demand for CPO.

“That is why PZWillmar is developing about 30,000Ha, Presco 16,000Ha, Okomu 12500Ha, Slabmark 4000Ha, etc.

Ten thousand Hectares represent 10 km by 10 km in area. You can see that operators in the industry in Nigeria are spending huge fund to develop plantations. Therefore any policy that will negate this investment should be seen as anti Nigerian and should be crushed immediately,” he said.

On his part, the Managing Director of Okomu Oil Palm Plc, Dr. Graham Hefer, said that the 75 per cent waiver should be withdrawn immediately as it is illegal and inimical to the future development of the oil palm sector and open to abuse.

“As we see happening now, the 75 percent waiver is detrimental to the development of Nigeria as a whole since the government loses revenues or lost duties,” he said.

For the Managing Director of Araromi Ayesan Oil Palm Plc, Mr. Babatunde Kuku, the granting of 75 percent waiver on duty payment to some companies in the vegetable oil sector creates undulating playing ground for manufacturers in the industry while industries enjoying the waiver pay only 8.75 per cent while others pay 35 per cent.

“This is unfair and capable of destroying the investments of the companies that are not favoured. Government should reverse the waivers or in the alternative bring duty down to 8.75 percent,” Kuku said.

According to Santosh Pillei, Managing Director, PZ-Wilmar, their $650 million Joint Venture project under a robust backward integration programme would be saving Nigeria up to $300 million yearly in foreign exchange, and drastically reduce the current huge crude palm oil (CPO) importation.

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