Nigeria’s leading integrated sugar company Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, has issued their position on the alleged involvement in price-fixing, a move that had been claimed to a strategy to keep the price of sugar high.
The claims were made by one of Dangote Sugar’s competitors in the sugar market, BUA Sugar Refinery.
BUA Sugar had accused Dangote Sugar of involvement in price-fixing and arbitrary collusion to create sugar scarcity in Nigeria so that the prices can be kept high.
This forced Dangote Sugar to issue a response in an effort to vehemently refute the allegations and assertions made by BUA Sugar Refinery.
BUA Sugar Refinery’s claims
Just recently, the management of BUA Sugar Refinery came out to point fingers at the Dangote Group for taking actions and conniving with Flour Mills of Nigeria to push out the competition in the Sugar industry and create a situation of perfect monopoly for themselves.
BUA’s allegations were triggered by a joint letter written by John Coumantaros of Flour Mills Nigeria Plc and Aliko Dangote of Dangote Industries Limited, reporting key developments in the Nigeria Sugar Industry to the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo.
Dangote Sugar’s position
The duo in the letter dated January 28, 2021, pointed out how BUA’s new sugar refinery in Port Harcourt may lead to a spike above the import quota as stipulated in the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), and how BUA’s investment in the sugar industry via the new refinery is non-compliant to the undertakings under its Backward Integration Programme, in line with local production.
Dangote Sugar in the letter also stressed that BUA’s Sugar refinery in the Free Trade Zone in Port Harcourt, may circumvent the National Sugar Master Plan’s (NSMP) framework and jeopardize its objectives by taking advantage of the location of its Port-Harcourt Refinery in the Free Trade Zone.
This letter led to a response by BUA Sugar Refinery noting that the allegations laid bare to the Minister of Trade and Investment by DSR and FMN were born out of the desire to create sugar scarcity and drive up the price of sugar by weeding out competition in the sugar industry.
Dangote Sugar in its response refuted the claims, saying that they are just not only false, but defamatory, malicious and libellous.
According to Dangote Sugar, the claims were geared at tarnishing the company’s name and brand.
“In line with this, the Dangote Sugar Refinery wishes to vehemently refute the allegations and assertions made by BUA Sugar Refinery as they are not only false, but defamatory, malicious and libellous, as they were geared at tarnishing the good name and brand of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and Dangote Industries Limited,” said Dangote Sugar in a statement.
The Group Managing Director, Mr Ravindra Singhvi, explained that the Dangote Group is socially responsible and considers price-fixing to be unethical and disastrous to the nation’s economy, and as such, the allegations made by BUA is highly mischievous and defamatory and should be considered a malicious attempt to smear the reputation of DSR.
“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 ever increased the price of our food items or commodities during the Holy month of Ramadan in the history of our operations,” he said.