The spokesman to the Union of Tomato Paste Manufacturers in Nigeria, Mr. Nnamdi Nnodebe has said that the once vibrant tomato industry might cease to exist in 2017 if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not amend its policy on forex to exclude triple concentrate tomato paste from the scope of the 41 items under the restricted list.
The managing director of Sonia Foods Industries Limited who is one of the stakeholders in the production of tomato paste variants, disclosed that the total investment in the packing manufacturing sector of tomato paste is about N19 billion.
“The economy cannot afford to lose such a huge industry that provides millions of direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians. The fact is this industry that grew to be the 13th largest in the world and second largest in Africa might die before the second quarter of next year if the ban on Forex is not lifted.”
He also disclosed that the exist of the triple concentrate tomato paste will reduce the rate of production for the industry which will either lead to high rate of unemployment or low standard of living for their employees.
“The impact of this on the economy will be massive and negative as consumer behaviour will also be influenced leading to low purchase of goods in all sectors, not just tomato. These workers also patronize electronics shops, banks, petrol stations, they pay taxes among others, but they will no longer be able to fulfill all these”.
“It makes better economics to import the raw materials that will enable production, grow the economy and keep jobs rather than importing the finished products or frustrating efforts to get the raw materials, thereby rendering millions jobless which might further kill the economy”.