Erisco Foods to stake $250m on agro-allied processing plant
Seals pact with Sokoto state govt
As part of its expansion exercise, Erisco Foods has unveiled plans to stake $250 million on a tomato processing plant in Sokoto State.
Under the capacity expansion plan, the company has sealed a pact with the state government to establish an agro-allied manufacturing plant as part of efforts to boost the state’s economy and create an estimated 9000 jobs for citizens.
Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and President/ Chief Executive Officer of Erisco Foods, Chief Eric Umeofia, while briefing journalists after a tour of the company’s plant in Lago, explained that the move became necessary in lieu of measures to improve the country’s dwindling incomes from the crude oil sector and the need for states to urgently look elsewhere to boost income earnings.
According to Tambuwal, States hoping to survive the present cash crunch must take bold steps to diversify sources of revenue generation by harnessing other dormant potentials.
“For us in Sokoto State, we are searching for new investors to boost our economy, particularly indigenous entrepreneurs, and we are ready to grant them incentives such as land with Certificate of Occupancy, and tax holidays that will enable them to kick-start and grow. We intend to develop a very good business framework that will promote, protect and sustain businesses through legislations or by a way of policy to engender investments in the state.
“We want Erisco Foods to come to Sokoto and replicate its Lagos plant, take up agricultural produce from our farmers and create jobs. We will mobilise our people to work and support the com- pany,” he added.
Tambuwal said the choice of a local investor was borne out of the need to grow local manpower and stem the rising dependency of the economy on imports, which, he noted, posed more harm to the national economy.
“Our economy is not growing and we must begin to look inwards. That is why I came to Lagos to look for an investor. We must encourage local investors because that remains the best way to grow the economy,” Tambuwal said.
According to him, in the years ahead, the state will expand its search to attract investors into its solid minerals sector.
Tambuwal added the state had put in place a commodity market with a board that will act as an interface with farmers and off-takers to ensure a win-win situation for all investors.
President/CEO of Erisco Foods, Chief Eric Umeofia, explained that the company would be committing about $250 million in various agro-allied investments in the state.
He commended Tambuwal for choosing to search for an indigenous investor rather than one abroad and pledged that within the first 18 months when the manufacturing plants come on stream, about 9,000 jobs would have been created by the company for Sokoto State indigenous.
“We will help local farmers make profits from their investments because we will take up their produce like tomatoes, pepper, onions, rice, among others, and within the first one and half years, we will create about 9,000 jobs,” he said.