Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Erisco Foods Limited has applauded the federal government over ban on importation of tomato paste into the country.
The President of the company, Chief Eric Umeofia who addressed a press conference in Lagos said the intervention of the presidency was a good move which would salve job lost.
According to him, the development was a glad tiding which has made Erisco to drop plans to relocate its factory.
It would be recalled that Erisco threatened to relocate its factory to China over lack of support for indigenous manufacturers by some agencies of government which would led to the retrenchment of over 1500 staffs of the company.
With this intervention, Emeofia assured 1,500 workers earlier penciled down to be sacked of jobs security.
He said the company, rather than retrench, is employing more to meet its expansion plan to Katsina, Jigawa, Anambra, among others.
Umeofia commended President Mohammadu Buhari’s government for banning the Tomato paste import which he said would liberate the country’s economy and enrich the local farmers.
He said the problem remains the inadequate supply of foreign exchange to manufacturers.
He insisted that the system of allocating Forex is not transparent, calling on the President to set up a panel to meet with local manufacturers to ascertain whether or not they were sufficiently supplied with forex to meet their production demands.
He disclosed that since he opened his factory in 2010, he has not produced up to 20 per cent of his capacity due to lack of support especially in the area of forex allocation which he said favours foreign companies.
The Tomato paste king also disclosed that his company requires $200,000 monthly to maintain his spare parts, adding that despite the publicized interventions on forex, the allocation is still lopsided and favours foreign companies.
He advocated special allocation of forex to manufacturers whom he said are the drivers of any economy, adding that any economy recovery planning is largely driven by manufacturers.
Umeofia also urged the government to replicate the ban on importation of tomato paste to all food items to encourage local production, saying, “We need to eat what we have and produce what we need”.
From left: General Manager/Administration Manager, Erisco Foods Limited, Mr. Tokunbo Agbede; Executive Director, Nnamdi Umeofia, President/Chief Executive Officer, Erisco Foods Limited, Chief Eric Umeofia and an Executive Director in the Company, Mr. Emeka Umeofia, during a press conference, held at the company premises, at Alausa, Ikeja in Lagos. April 19, 2016. Photo
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