ABUJA – The Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) disclosed on Thursday that Nigeria faces an annual loss of N17 billion due to the importation of soap noodles, a vital raw material for soap production.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, Professor Hussaini Ibrahim, the Director General of RMRDC, revealed that in 2022 alone, Nigeria imported 35,811 metric tonnes of soap noodles, amounting to over N17 billion in value.
Soap noodles, derived from the saponification process of vegetable oils or animal fats, serve as the foundational ingredient for various soap products. Ibrahim highlighted that the global soap noodles market is anticipated to reach $4.9 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent.
The primary focus of the RMRDC, according to Ibrahim, is to promote domestic soap noodle manufacturing to curtail import dependence and save the nation from significant financial losses.
Ibrahim emphasised that soap noodles primarily consist of 80 percent palm oil and 20 percent palm kernel or coconut oil. Soap manufacturers typically purchase these noodles and add flavourings, fragrances, pigments, and other components to distinguish their brands.
The Director General attributed the surge in soap noodle imports to the absence of local technological infrastructure to support domestic production. He underscored the national demand for toilet soap, estimating a population of over 200 million people with an annual growth rate of 5.7 percent and an average economic growth rate of 3.5 percent per year.
Furthermore, Ibrahim outlined the RMRDC’s initiatives in collaboration with research institutes and private sector entities to enhance the production of major oilseeds such as palm nut, groundnut, sunflower, sesame, coconut, cottonseed, soybean, and castor seed.
“These efforts have significantly boosted oilseed production and productivity in the country. Presently, Nigeria is emerging as a prominent player in the West African region in the production of oil from these seeds,” Ibrahim stated.
The revelation underscores the urgent need for Nigeria to prioritise domestic soap noodle production to mitigate financial losses and enhance self-sufficiency in the soap manufacturing sector.