How to drive FDIs to Nigeria’s manufacturing sector, by Erisco
Umeofia, while speaking during his recent trip to France on the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari, stated that Nigeria will soon be the preferred destination for genuine foreign direct investments (FDI) and partnerships in Africa, if indigenous players are supported to drive the growth in the processing sector.
He added that Erisco Foods Limited, which has been involved in the manufacturing of RIC-GIKO, NAGIKO and ERISCO Tomato paste brands, plans to become the third largest processing plant in the world by the first quarter of 2016 with an increased production capacity of 450,000 metric tonnes yearly.
He said: “Erisco Foods Limited’s mission is simply to help the economy, to help Nigeria control our own economy. We deal in the manufacturing of tomato paste, to help stop the importation of fake and substandard tomato paste from China that is actually damaging both our economy and health. We want to be exporting tomato paste from Nigeria. We have the capacity and all it takes to achieve it.
“The big question that should be on every Nigerian’s lip is: Why do we still import tomatoes when there is an abundance rotting away in the northern part of the country? A 2014 report noted that Nigeria is rated as the second largest producer of tomato in Africa and 13th in the world but loses over 50 per cent of the commodity due to lack of storage and under-developed marketing channels.
“It was one of the reasons why we decided to go into tomato refining. We set up our factory, with a capacity of 250,000 tonnes of processing tomato paste, and keep running it, keep losing money every month, just to get people off the streets and get them engaged. People like to talk about importation, but I prefer manufacturing, and this is what I am doing”.
He added saying: Erisco Foods is already in the process of launching massive tomato plantations through backward integration in Sokoto, Jigawa, Katsina and Zamfara states. The Nigerian government and the international community need to support indigenous manufacturers and local investors as it remains a fast and effective means of revamping the floundering fortunes of Africa’s most populous nation.
“Serious investors can only come into an economy such as Nigeria if her own nationals have staked impressive investments of their own provided that financial institutions are prepared to give the requisite support in line with President Buhari’s economic agenda”.