Nigeria is losing N25 billion daily as a result of capital flight in food importation, as some importers indulge in bringing in substandard food product, thus impeding growth of local manufacturing segment of the market.
Chief executive officer, Erisco Foods Ltd., Chief Eric Umeofia,who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with Leadership,earlier in the week said importers of fake and sub-standard tomato paste, which is unhealthy for human consumption, are having it easy in the country.
Umeofia said:“We are being faced with a lot of problems which are killing genuine industries in Nigeria. Some Nigerian businessmen request low quality tomato pastes produced with drum, starch and colour, which has been banned internationally due to health implications.”
“Importing such tomatoes from Europe, America or Britain won’t be allowed, but in China it is allowed. N25 billion is taken away from Nigeria every day, with Illegal business killing the country the more.’’
Umeofia also disclosed that most of the tomato paste imported into the country are sub-standard, adding that there are now more fake food products in the country than before.
He stressed that smuggling has actually done great harm to the real sector of Nigeria’s economy, and urged the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, to state the standard of foods that could be imported into the country.
The Erisco Boss however, urged the federal government to continue its drive to reposition the economy through diversification into agriculture and provisions of incentives that would improve economic activities in the real sector.
He also asked the Nigeria Customs Service to intensify efforts in combatting the activities of smugglers into the country. Umeofia further noted that many of the foreign investors in the country were just commercial or importer investors.
He disclosed that apart from his tomato business, he had developed 22 items out of which about seven had embarked on backward integration that would create 20,000 jobs in less than two years.