Despite the yearly increase recorded in palm oil production, Nigeria’s import of the product from top producers – Malaysia has hit 242,388 metric tons in 2018, data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) shows.
On a year on year basis, Nigeria’s crude palm oil import from Malaysia declined by 1.8% to 246,909mt recorded in 2017.
Similarly, to protect the country’s palm oil industry and spur the industry growth, the Nigerian government had imported a 35 percent tariff (10% duty and 25 % levy) on palm oil imports into the country.
Crude palm oil is also listed on the Federal Government 41 items restricted from forex access.
Some industry experts stated that the country’s crude palm oil is less competitive to the imported ones owing to the high cost of production, infrastructural gaps and high logistic cost among others.
According to them, this makes local manufacturers who use CPO as raw materials for production result to importing the product than patronising local producers.
Since the inclusion of CPO in the country’s import prohibition list, Nigeria has significantly increase its production in the last 10 years, Fatasi Afolabi , executive secretary, POFON said.
“But Nigeria is still importing a lot of CPO into the country and much more is smuggled through the land borders into the country” Afolabi said.
Since losing its position as one of the world’s largest palm oil producers, Nigeria is yet to recover and take its proper place in the comity of crude palm oil producing nations owing to the discovery of oil, which changed the country’s palm oil narrative of the 60’s.
As a result, Indonesia and Malaysia have now surpassed Nigeria’s production becoming the global leaders in oil palm production.
Some experts attribute the increase in imports to the high population growth rate in the country that is fuelling demand.
Business Day, March 13, 2019
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