The President and Chief Executive Officer, Erisco Foods Limited, Chief Eric Umeofia, has lamented the poor implementation of the ban placed on the importation of tomato paste by the government.
The Federal Government had in March 2017 banned the importation of tomato paste, powder or concentrate, and increased the tariffs on imports of tomato concentrate from five per cent to 50 per cent in a move aimed at reviving the local tomato sector.
Umeofia said although the ban had been imposed for over a year now, there was no implementation in sight.
He said the Federal Government was not to blame for the situation, but the system that had refused to enforce the ban because some people were benefitting from the continued influx of substandard tomato paste into the Nigerian market.
Umeofia stated this while unveiling a Nollywood actress, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha, as the brand ambassador of Erisco Foods Limited and its new product range — Nagiko 3-in-1 Garri mix, Erisco Milk cubes, Ric-Giko and Nagiko brand of tomato paste.
He, however, expressed confidence in made-in-Nigeria products and said there was a need to promote them.
He said, “Erisco Foods Limited is a wholly owned indigenous manufacturing company that has consistently championed the made-in-Nigeria philosophy and developed innovative products using locally sourced raw materials to genuinely grow the economy.
“The ripple effect of sourcing our raw materials locally is that our farmers are empowered, jobs are created and ultimately, our economy is industrialised. Our focus, as a company, at inception was to leverage our success and use it as a platform to grow and empower as many Nigerians as possible with a view to creating wealth and curtailing youth restiveness.
“Also, locally produced tomato paste is designed to curb the incessant health challenges experienced by Nigerians as a result of the consumption of sub- standard tomato paste imported into the country from China.”
According to Umeofia, the Nagiko 3-in-1Garri mix is the first of its kind as Erisco Foods Limited is the first company to produce the product which is a mixture of Ijebu garri, sugar and milk.
“All our products are developed to cater for all categories of people. The Erisco milk cubes will nourish and sharpen the brains of Nigerians to make them even more productive,” he said.
Source: Punch Newspaper