Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC has said it was aware of an online publication claiming that it was engaging in price-fixing and not honestly engaged in any Backward Integration Programme as claimed.
The position of the company, made known by its Group Managing Director, Ravindra Singhvi, followed the release of a letter it purportedly authored with Flour Mills of Nigeria to the Minister of Industries, Adeniyi Adebayo, by the BUA Group on Thursday.
In a statement on Thursday, DSR PLC said: “DSR wishes to vehemently refute the allegations and assertions in their entirety as the false allegations are geared at tarnishing the good name and brand of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc and Dangote Industries Limited.
“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 price of our food items or commodities during the Holy month of Ramadan in the history of our operations.”
Singhvi also added that the Company is socially responsible and considers price-fixing to be unethical.
He said such allegation is highly mischievous and a calculated attempt to smear the reputation of DSR, adding: “DSR can only sadly conclude that the online publication is mischievous and geared at creating some form of undue advantage to some Industry players.”
He said the company began its Backward Integration Programme with a 10-year sugar development plan to produce 1.5 million MT per annum of sugar from locally grown sugarcane.
The Project 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 BIP sugar companies: Dangote Taraba Sugar Limited, Dangote Adamawa Sugar Limited and Nasarawa Sugar Company Limited, were incorporated.
Singhvi said the Company had commenced rehabilitation and expansion of its Sugar Factory at Numan.
Sugarcane planting has also commenced in the two other BIP locations.
Singhvi added: “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 protect the integrity of the Sugar Industry, it is not engaged in price fixing and it encourages healthy competition amongst the players.
“DSR highlighted a matter (BUA’s operation 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 by taking advantage of the location of its Port-Harcourt Refinery in the Free Trade Zone. DSR made this notification to the Hon. 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.”