The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has urged Nigerians to patronize made in Nigeria goods with a view to creating employment and strengthening the country’s economy.
Mrs Buhari made the call when she inaugurated the Made in Nigeria Tomato Paste Factory, Erisco Foods Limited, on Thursday in Lagos.
She said that the need to patronize Nigerian goods had become necessary as it would encourage the production of local farm products and improve the health of citizens.
She also urged manufacturing companies in the country to emulate Erisco company by using locally available raw materials to produce their goods to ensure economic development.
She added that “I believe this is part of the change process which the present administration is all about.
“The event we are witnessing today is not only unique but also important because this company is able to produce 450,000 tonnes of tomato paste using local tomatoes.’’
She then commended the company for donating food items to Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) in the North East and also for providing employment to youths.
The Chief Executive Officer of Erisco Foods Limited, Mr Eric Umeofia, urged the Federal Government to sustain the formulation of positive policies that would enhance the production capacity of manufacturers.
He said that the foreign exchange restriction of 41 items from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official corridor had saved the country in foreign exchange and compelled Nigerians to patronize home-grown foods.
Umeofia said that the company had fast track its backward integration programmme by developing a technology that synchronize its existing machines to produce tomato paste directly from fresh tomatoes to tomato paste and tomato ketchup.
He said “the Erisco Foods Revolution in tomato paste production will stop the annual wastage of over 75 per cent of fresh tomatoes across Nigeria.
“If we continue with the good policies of the present administration, there will be nothing like tomato glut anywhere in Nigeria in the next two years.
“We as off-takers will produce and process to meet our local demands and export to earn foreign exchange, provided government continues to support us.
“Our backward integration programme is planned for Jigawa, Sokoto and Katsina and will generate employment for 50,000 Nigerians within three years.’’
According to him, the company has an installed production capacity of 450,000 tonnes per annum in its Lagos factory alone, making it the biggest in Africa and the fourth largest in the world.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, said government would continue to support the development of indigenous businesses to make production of local materials profitable.
Lawal, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs Office, Mr Williams Alo, said the current economic reality called for decisive policy thrust to address issues which must be pragmatic enough to leverage on.
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