With Tuesday marking the expiration of the 30-day ultimatum issued to the federal government to intervene in the forex difficulties and other problems faced by manufacturers in the country, given by the authorities of Erisco Foods Limited, the company has started winding down and says it has started relocating its production units to China, while and has also started relieving some of its staff of their duties as it has marked 1500 employees for retrenchment.
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Erick Umeofia, who told newsmen in Lagos that he cannot continue to buy forex at a very exorbitant rate for import of materials to compete in the same economy with those that obtain cheap funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Umofia said; “It is painful that we have started the process of relocating our factory out of the country after the expiration of the 30 days’ notice, thereby forcing us against our wish to create jobs in foreign lands due to the evil and wicked desires of unpatriotic Nigerians who frustrate every effort we made to genuinely create jobs and grow our economy as well as earn forex in line with the change agenda.”
He stated that Nigeria was still under slavery, stressing that it was a targeted plan that the country does not become independent of importation from the west.
He stated that his expectation was for the government to do the needful by placing embargo on importation of tomato paste as it did in the cement, fruit juice industries and some others.
He said that CBN, NAFDAC and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment have succeeded in forcing Erisco foods to joining the league of those that manufacture outside and import into the country.
“CBN refused to give us forex to import machineries, machine spare parts and raw materials to be used for processing of Nigerian fresh tomatoes into tomato paste in our Lagos factory. CBN also refused to give us enough intervention funds after several promises to import agricultural tractors, improved tomato seedlings, fertilizer, chemicals and so on. Unfortunately, CBN approved intervention loans and forex to companies mostly owned by foreigners to import the same finished tomato paste at cheaper rate.” Umeofia complained.
He stressed that he lost N3.6 billion to CBN’s insincerity, explaining that his bank told him that CBN refused to approve his form “M” which is used for foreign transaction, adding that $450, 000 dollars Erisco food bided for was denied.
The Erisco CEO regretted that his attempt to convince Nigerians on what is called good governance has been misunderstood, saying that the company has returned the Certificate of Occupancy of the 2,500 hectares of land initially given to it by the Kastina State Government.
He said that the plan to employ over 50, 000 persons on the 2,500 hectares of land would no longer be actualised.

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