Nigeria’s pioneer tomato paste manufacturer, Erisco Foods Ltd, on Tuesday morning stated that one of its raw material warehouses was engulfed by fire.

The raw maternal consumed by the inferno was estimated to be worth wN450 million, which has further compounded the woes of the company.

The General manager, Mr Tokunbo Agbede who disclosed this in Lagos, noted that if the government agencies had supported the cause of manufacturers, the raw materials would have been totally utilized for production.

Agbede stated that the police and the Lagos State fire Service is still carrying out investigations to ascertain the cause of the fire, which started by the early hours of Monday.

He said that dried tomato was where the company recorded the highest loss, adding that the company is losing N450 million because of NAFDAC, CBN and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, negligence to the manufacturing sector.

He regretted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) frustrated his company by not granting them the needed forex, lamenting that CBN has been releasing forex to those that import substandard tomato paste into the country.

He pointed out that NAFDAC, neglected its duty of regulating and impounding substandard and poisonous imparted food items into the country, stressing that these imported substandard tomato paste are cheap and makes Erisco tomato less competitive.

He noted that CBN has been allocating the country’s scarce foreign exchange to importers, stressing that the worst case was approving forex for the Indian and Lebanese companies that practically import finished product.

He accused the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of not supporting manufacturers, stressing that the ministry has not lived up its responsibility.

Commenting on the company relocating its factory to China, Okwuagwu Olisemeka Victor, National Sales and Marketing Manager noted that Erisco Foods is only relocating its production wing out of the country, promising that the quality of its product would remain the same.

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