Call On Banning Importation Of Agric-Based Raw Materials
• Food Companies Say Govt Must Act Now
TO encourage local raw material-based food industries and create more employment opportunities, the Managing Director of Food, Agro and Allied Industries Limited, Mr. Sudhansu Sinha has urged the Federal Government to impose heavy duty and levy on all imported agric-based raw materials.
Sinha told The Guardian the country must progress with Nigerian industries based on local resources, especially as the country has the advantage of local processing, at this trying times of rising foreign exchange rate.
According to him, products made by indigenous companies using 100 per cent local raw materials are much superior to imported ones in the market. Nigerian products are of highest quality with additional benefits being rich with nutrients, amino acids, and dietary fibres and gluten free.
Sinha narrated the efforts local industries have made to pass across their message to the present government.
Local industries, he revealed wrote a letter to the Presidency over the plight of the sector and were invited to present the issues. He said officials of the Ministries of Agriculture and Industry were visited in October and November 2015 and extracted a promise that the Vice President would be presented with the presentations.
Regrettably, nothing has been heard since then, Sinha lamented. It would be recalled that immediately after taking charge, the new government announced import ban on some items and promised steps favourable for growth local industries.
Apparently restating the presentation made to government, Sinha said unfortunately quality made-in-Nigeria products are not getting to customers, because some multinationals prefer importation for various reasons.
“These industries prefer to import lower quality syrups/glucose for their end products. They proffered reasons like cheap price (of course for low quality products), colour of the syrup etc., which, in fact, do not matter since in most cases, they again import caramel to colour their end products.
“They use substandard ingredients, like waste from sugar refining (molasses meant for ethanol production) for use as malt extract in biscuits or unrefined sugar (imported for refining only) for use in production of malt drinks are also being imported.
He posited that the multinational food and beverage companies are guided by their parent offices overseas and made a policy to restrict use of local ingredients as far as possible; importation of ingredients from their listed sources overseas is a matter of policy.
The powerful lobby of these multinational giants and some industries purposely built to process imported raw materials only, are seriously trying to divert the attention of the present government from real issues facing the nation. Their moles in various decision making/recommending bodies are therefore not allowing the voice of Nigerian agric-based industries to reach the ears of the government.