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Nigeria To Earn $700M Annually From Sugar Backward Integration Policy – Dangote

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Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc

Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has urged the government to faithfully follow through with the Backward Integration Policy in the sugar industry as the nation stands to rake in foreign exchange up to $700 million yearly from Sugar production self-sufficiency.

Chairman of Dangote Sugar Refinery, Aliko Dangote, on Thursday, at its 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, said that allowing for distortions in the sugar masterplan framework will adversely affect the target of the nation attaining self-sufficiency as projected.

He described the backward integration policy as commendable which will not only reduce imports of raw sugar but save the nation enormous foreign exchange used for importation.

Dangote expressed delight that the BIP in the Sugar industry is going on well and added “if the National Sugar Master Plan is followed strictly and the players all follow the rules, the country will be better for it as Nigeria will save between $600 million and $700 million annually as forex.”

He stated that the backward integration policy of Dangote Sugar Refinery is recording appreciable progress even as he declared the company’s irrevocable commitment to the policy.

Addressing the shareholders, Dangote opined that despite the disruptions in the economy occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Dangote Sugar Refinery has announced an increase in production volume which rose by 13.7 percent to 743,858 tonnes in the financial year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 654,071 tonnes in 2019.

He stated that the Company posted a Group turnover of N214.3 billion a 33 percent increase over the N161.1 billion in 2019, while in the same period the Sugar Group also posted a 6.9 percent increase in sales volume from 684,487 tonnes in 2019 to 731,701 tonnes in 2020.

Therefore, the Board of the company declared a dividend payment of N18.22 billion to the shareholders, amounting to N1.50kobo per ordinary share of 50k each.

According to Dangote, the improvements were attributable to operations optimization strategy despite the disruption caused by civil unrest in the last quarter of the year. “Our growth continued to benefit from the sustained efforts to drive customer base expansion and several trade initiatives and investment.”

Dangote said the Company has revised its sugar production target to 550,000 metric tonnes achievable by 2024 in line with the revised plan on the BIP by the federal government.

In his remarks, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ravindra Singhvi, speaking on the results said the sugar group continued the growth path with commitments to improve performance and generate value for all stakeholders.

He explained that this was reflected in the sales volume delivery of 731,701 tonnes, and production of 743,858 tonnes being a 6.9 percent and 13.7 percent increase in volumes over the comparative year 2019.

He said the Company would ensure all hands are on deck to meet the targeted 550,000tonnes projected to be achieved by 2024. “Our Backward Integration goal is to become a global force in sugar production, by producing 1.5M MT/PA of refined sugar from locally grown sugar cane for the domestic and export markets”.

According to him, “our focus on the implementation of our key strategies in the face of the several challenges posed by the COVID Pandemic, the peculiarities of the Apapa traffic situation amongst others we achieved a topline growth in revenue of N214.30 billion, a 33.0 percent increase over 2019; a 53 percent YOY increase in PBT, and 33.2 percent increase in PAT.

“2020 was indeed very eventful for our company ranging from the weak macroeconomic fundamentals caused by the underlying impact of COVID-19 pandemic which saw to the steady rise in forex rate, high inflation and the significant rise in our cost of production, to the worsening traffic gridlock on the Apapa Wharf Road which led to delays and at times disruption of the distribution and deliveries to customers.”

He noted that one of the key highlights during the year was the successful completion of the Scheme of Arrangement – the merger of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (DSR) and Savannah Sugar Company Limited (SSCL) with effect from September 1, 2020, to operate under one unified entity.

He added, “We are confident the merger will enable us to achieve operational, administrative, and governance efficiencies resulting in increased shareholder value. We will continue to pursue our Backward Integration Projects, and other key initiatives to grow our sales volumes, market share, optimize cost and operational efficiencies.”

Also speaking, Dr. Farouk Umar, President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders commended the management of Dangote Sugar for the impressive performance of the company despite the hiccups in the year 2020.

He said the shareholders expect more robust results next year since the economy is already picking up and for them to have performed excellently under pandemic, then next year will be greater for us all. The leadership of the company has been very wonderful.

Commenting in the same vein, Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association, Sir Sunny Nwosu said the management of Dangote Sugar led by Dangote has never let the shareholders down for once “their management style is second to none and that is why the company has been growing steadily.”

He said the way and manner the Company has been executing its BIP projects was also commendable as this will afford the Company opportunity to meet the target within its projected timelines.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Growth Forecast Lowered to 3% for 2025, Higher than Most Emerging Markets

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IMF global - Investors King

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 3% growth rate for Nigeria in 2025, slightly down from the 3.1% forecasted for 2024.

Despite this slight decline, Nigeria’s projected growth remains higher than that of many emerging markets as detailed in the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday.

In comparison, South Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 1.2% in 2025, up from 0.9% this year. Brazil’s growth is projected at 2.4% from 2.1% in 2024, and Mexico’s growth forecast stands at 1.6% for 2025, down from 2.2% in 2024.

However, India is anticipated to see a robust growth of 6.5% in 2025, although this is slightly lower than the 7% forecast for 2024.

The IMF’s projections come as Nigeria undertakes significant monetary reforms. The Central Bank of Nigeria has been working on clearing the foreign exchange backlog, and the federal government recently removed petrol subsidies.

These reforms aim to stabilize the economy, but the country continues to grapple with high inflation and increasing poverty levels, which pose challenges to sustained economic growth.

Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is expected to see an improvement in growth, with projections of 4.1% in 2025, up from 3.7% in 2024. This regional outlook indicates a modest recovery as economies adjust to global economic conditions.

The IMF report underscores the need for cautious monetary policy. It recommends that central banks in emerging markets avoid easing their monetary stances too early to manage inflation risks and sustain economic growth.

In cases where inflation risks have materialized, central banks are advised to remain open to further tightening of monetary policy.

“Central banks should refrain from easing too early and should be prepared for further tightening if necessary,” the report stated. “Where inflation data encouragingly signal a durable return to price stability, monetary policy easing should proceed gradually to allow for necessary fiscal consolidation.”

The IMF also highlighted the importance of avoiding fiscal slippages, noting that fiscal policies may need to be significantly tighter than previously anticipated in some countries to ensure economic stability.

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Nigeria’s Inflation Rises to 34.19% in June Amid Rising Costs

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Food Inflation - Investors King

Nigeria’s headline inflation rate surged to 34.19% in June 2024, a significant increase from the 33.95% recorded in May.

This rise highlights the continuing pressures on the nation’s economy as the cost of living continues to climb.

On a year-on-year basis, the June 2024 inflation rate was 11.40 percentage points higher than the 22.79% recorded in June 2023.

This substantial increase shows the persistent challenges faced by consumers and businesses alike in coping with escalating prices.

The month-on-month inflation rate for June 2024 was 2.31%, slightly up from 2.14% in May 2024. This indicates that the pace at which prices are rising continues to accelerate, compounding the economic strain on households and enterprises.

A closer examination of the divisional contributions to the inflation index reveals that food and non-alcoholic beverages were the primary drivers, contributing 17.71% to the year-on-year increase.

Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels followed, adding 5.72% to the inflationary pressures.

Other significant contributors included clothing and footwear (2.62%), transport (2.23%), and furnishings, household equipment, and maintenance (1.72%).

Sectors such as education, health, and miscellaneous goods and services also played notable roles, contributing 1.35%, 1.03%, and 0.57% respectively.

The rural and urban inflation rates also exhibited marked increases. Urban inflation reached 36.55% in June 2024, a rise of 12.23 percentage points from the 24.33% recorded in June 2023.

On a month-on-month basis, urban inflation was 2.46% in June, slightly higher than the 2.35% in May 2024. The twelve-month average for urban inflation stood at 32.08%, up 9.70 percentage points from June 2023’s 22.38%.

Rural inflation was similarly impacted, with a year-on-year rate of 32.09% in June 2024, an increase of 10.71 percentage points from June 2023’s 21.37%.

The month-on-month rural inflation rate rose to 2.17% in June, up from 1.94% in May 2024. The twelve-month average for rural inflation reached 28.15%, compared to 20.76% in June 2023.

The rising inflation rates pose significant challenges for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as it grapples with balancing monetary policy to rein in inflation while supporting economic growth.

The ongoing pressures from high food prices and energy costs necessitate urgent policy interventions to stabilize the economy and protect the purchasing power of Nigerians.

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Inflation to Climb Again in June, but at a Reduced Pace, Predicts Meristem

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Nigeria's Inflation Rate - Investors King

As Nigeria awaits the release of the National Bureau of Statistics’ report on June 2024 inflation, economic analysts project that while inflation will continue its upward trajectory, the pace of increase will moderate.

This comes after inflation rose to a 28-year high of 33.95% in May, up from 33.69% in April.

Meristem, a leading financial services company, has forecasted that June’s headline inflation will rise to 34.01%, a slight increase from May’s figure.

The firm attributes this persistent inflationary pressure to ongoing structural challenges in agriculture, high transportation costs, and the continuous depreciation of the naira.

Experts have highlighted several factors contributing to the inflationary trend. Insecurity in food-producing regions and high transportation costs have disrupted supply chains, while the depreciation of the naira has increased importation costs.

In May, food inflation grew at a slower pace, reaching 40.66%, but challenges in the agricultural sector, such as the infestation of tomato leaves, have led to higher prices for staples like tomatoes and yams.

Meristem predicts that food inflation will persist in June, driven by these lingering challenges. Increased demand during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration and rising importation costs are also expected to keep food prices elevated.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile items like food and energy, was at 27.04% in May. Meristem projects it to rise to 27.30% in June.

The firm notes that higher transportation costs and the depreciation of the naira will continue to push core inflation up.

However, they also anticipate a month-on-month moderation in the core index due to a relatively stable naira exchange rate during June, compared to a more significant depreciation in May.

Cowry Assets Management Limited has projected an even higher headline inflation figure of 34.25% for June, citing similar concerns.

The firm notes that over the past year, food prices in Nigeria have soared due to supply chain disruptions, currency depreciation, and climate change impacts on agriculture.

This has made basic staples increasingly unaffordable for many Nigerians, stretching household budgets.

As inflation continues to rise, analysts believe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will likely hike the benchmark lending rate again.

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 650 basis points this year, bringing it to 26.25% as of May 2024.

At a recent BusinessDay CEO Forum, CBN Governor Dr. Olayemi Cardoso emphasized the MPC’s commitment to tackling inflation, stating that while the country needs growth, controlling inflation is paramount.

“The MPC is not oblivious to the fact that the country does need growth. If these hikes hadn’t been done at the time, the naira would have almost tipped over, so it helped to stabilize the naira. Interest rates are not set by the CBN governor but by the MPC committee composed of independent-minded people. These are people not given to emotion but to data. The MPC clarified that the major issue is taming inflation, and they would do what is necessary to tame it,” Cardoso said.

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