Government support to local production in areas of comparative advantage is the only sustainable solution to the nation’s economic challenges, Managing Director, Erisco Foods Limited, Mr Nnamdi Umeofia has advised
Umeofia made the remark during the Army War College Nigeria Course 6/2022 Environmental Study Tour to Erisco Foods on Tuesday in Lagos.
He said that supporting and patronising local products would stabilise the Naira, enhance economic growth, reduce poverty and unemployment in the country.
According to him, government should deepen allocation of foreign exchange and loans to manufacturers to enhance rapid economic recovery and income generation through tax.
“It might surprise you to know that Erisco Foods has been selling its products at a loss for about nine months, due to the high rate at which imported banned tomato paste in retail packs has flooded the market for over three years.
“We have stock of goods worth over N4 billion for about nine months which we have been finding very difficult to sell.
“We have now gotten to our limit as we have been supporting our local (Nigerian) business operation for about three years from the proceeds of our foreign business operations.
“We may have no other choice than to close down, if our government continue to refuse to support her own genuine indigenous manufacturers like us, as some other indigenous manufacturers are closing down to join importation,” he said.
He added that the company was yet to utilise 15 per cent of its 450,000 Metric Tonnes per annum processing capacity due to the lack of patronage from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and frustration in obtaining foreign exchange from financial institutions.
Umeofia noted that the company in Dec. 4, 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Defence Research and Development Bureau (DRDB) for the production and supply of Ready to Eat meals for personnel of the Armed Forces.
He, however, noted that the patronage from the armed forces was still low, urging the DRDB to leverage on its innovation and capacity to feed the armed forces at the war front.
The managing director reiterated the commitment of the company to produce healthy and energetic ready to eat meal for the military to enhance their capability to win the war against Boko Haram, banditry and insurgencies.
Umeofia said that patronage of made-in-Nigeria products would accelerate national development.
Umeofia appealed to all MDAs to support the government’s efforts in enhancing economic growth.
Commenting, Brig.-Gen. Matthew Oyekola, Team Lead, Army War College Nigeria Course 6/2022, said that the tour was to enhance national security agenda.
Oyekola noted that the theme of the tour, “Harnessing Local Production Capacity for National Defence”, would improve the learning experience of the 22 participants.
He added that the tour would enable them to understand the efforts and contributions of local manufacturers in meeting the strategic objectives for national securitynan