The managing director of Sonia Food Industries, Mr Nnamdi Nnodebe, has urged the federal government to grant indigenous manufacturers a window of 18 months during which they will backwardly integrate, but will during that time continue to access foreign exchange.
It will be recalled that under the new foreign exchange policy regime, 41 items have been barred from access to foreign exchange, necessary for the purchase of raw materials for processing and Production of finished goods.
Nnodebe made the call during a factory tour of the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Bimbo Ashiru, while on a tour of some manufacturing firms in the state.
According to Nnodebe, This development has become a challenge and has left manufacturers groaning under the weight of the current policy which has made it difficult for them to access raw materials.
He continued: i am very confident, if given this allowance, it will work together for our good and for the economy, because Sonia Foods can compete a tomato factory farm, requisite for processing tomato concentrate, within 2 years.
He is however optimistic about the prospects, hence he also prevail on the federal government to allow more time, to enable Manufacturers achieve backward integration. Nnodebe is confident that Sonia Foods can complete a tomato factory farm, requisite for processing tomato concentrate, within 2 years.
Also speaking, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), President Dr Frank Jacobs, echoed the words of Nnodebe as he said, “18 months window is what Manufacturers of Tomato need to move the sector forward. Backward integration is paramount on the mind of tomato producers, and it would only be ideal to support them, actualise this ambition for the good of our economy, as you well know once this is actualised, jobs would be created and more importantly exports would start to happen because Nigeria has the potential to become leading exporter of concentrates, if given the prerequisite support”.
“One way, we could make this happen, is partner the northern states, since tomato cultivation thrives in the North where it finds favourable Climate, Governors in the North should endeavour to work together with credible Manufacturers like Sonia Foods, to speedily achieve backward integration. Nigeria is the second highest Producer of tomato in Africa and 13th in the world.