Tomato Paste Importers Are killing Nigerians

Chief Eric Umeofia produces tomato paste locally and has revealed that tomato paste importers import substandard tomato paste which is very harmful to health.

Chief Eric Umeofia,  Chief Executive Officer, EriscoBonpet Group, who disclosed that tomato paste importers have imported tomatoes pastes from China into Nigeria are substandard, said that the simplest way to stop dumping is to ban importation of finished goods.

Umeofia whose company produces tomato paste locally, said: “Importation is doing a lot of damage to us. The influx of foreign goods is one of the dangers the Nigerian manufacturers and producers are facing, because the cost of production here is quite high. The power situation, the cost of diesel, compared to production cost in Asia, we discover that the goods that come in here from those places would be far cheaper and at times, leave only a small margin between our cost of production and cost of sales. So, it is a very big problem, so many producers cannot just survive.

“Fiscal policy should be put in place to discourage much of the importations of these goods and services. High tariffs should be placed on those goods they know that we have the capability of producing here in Nigeria. It is not too difficult to take a census or to sample goods that are being produced here and such goods; government should have a deliberate policy from Ministry of Finance hiking the tariffs of the imported ones.

“That is the simplest way to stop it and it takes some good patriotic and political will to do this, and I encourage the government and the CBN to do this for the good of us all. I agree that the world is a global market right now, but we have to look at our position, we are a consuming nation. Those that are exporting to us right now, we must realise that there was a time when they had a closed market, and they did not allow goods from outside their country to flow in,” he said.

According to Umeofia, a study conducted by NAFDAC recently, revealed that majority of the tomato pastes in the market across the country fall short of required standard.

“The laboratory analysis of study which covers 27 main markets and four major supermarkets in Lagos indicated that 286 tomato paste out of 298 sampled fall short of the codex standards and the Nigerian Industrial Standards has specified that tomato content should be 28 percent minimum.”

He said that another survey carried out by Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology, NISLT, showed that of 16 tomatoe paste samples analysed for 13 parameters selected, some manufacturers compromised standard in area of amount of lycopene, starch content and heavy metal contamination. He said it will be in the interest of local manufacturers for imported tomato paste brands in retail packs from China and other high risk countries to be suspended and immediate mop ups of those brands of tomatoes paste already in circulation.

“Apart from killing Nigerians with their substandard tomato pastes, these people are also killing the Nigerian economy as they dump these substandard tomato pastes with subsidies from their home government. In the end, genuine manufacturers of tomato pastes find it difficult to remain in business as the consumers unfortunately go for this perceived cheaper tomato paste brands, not knowing they are paying for ill health and untimely death,” he stated.

Umeofia commended CBN for its recent monetary policy tools, adding that the forex measure is a welcome development which will help reshape and reposition the real sector. He further urged CBN to monitor all the banks to ensure that the forex made available is not diverted to traders and Bureau De Change dealers, stressing that government should focus on industrialising Nigeria and not to trade the country away.


Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

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