A group of concerned stakeholders in the oil palm industry has expressed fear over unmitigated importation and dumping of palm oil, saying such practice can kill the industry if not checkmated.
At a briefing, organised by Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON), National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) and Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN), POFON Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Ibru, who spoke on behalf of the three groups, lamented that detractors in the oil palm industry were at work again to destabilise the enduring palm oil policy environment.
He added that they may consequently upturn the gains that the local industry has recorded in the last five years to 10 years in the country. He feared that, if the plot of palm oil speculators are not checkmated it may spell doom for the local industry.
He said a company, whose identity he would not reveal, was trying to import crude palm oil and other palm oil related products to the country under the guise of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS).
“We have received with shock the clamour by a company that has refused to invest in the Nigerian oil palm value chain to import 95,000 MT of crude palm oil, 50,000 MT of stearin in bulk, 60,000 MT of crude palm oil and 50,000 MT of palm fatty Acid distillates under the West African Trade Liberalisation scheme (ETLS).
“This is not only absurd, it is as well ridiculous as all the palm oil producing countries in West Africa also import crude oil into their respective countries. Importing palm oil from any West African country under the guise of ETLS is tantamount to economy sabotage while any attempt or plot to import refined products amounts to smuggling because refined vegetable oil products remain on the import prohibition list. It is on this light we see the ongoing plot by the company as an attempt to procure official stamp and commit economic crime against Nigeria,” he said.