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Why FG Banned Imports Of Packaged Tomato Past To Nigeria


The
Federal Government has banned the importation of packaged tomato paste,
powder or concentrate, and increased the tariff on the importation of
tomato concentrate among others from 5% to 50 % in order to revive the
tomato sector.

This was made known by the Federal Ministry of
Industry, Trade, and Investment in a document titled: “Implementation of
the Tomato Sector Policy.”
The document which was signed by the
Director, Industry Development of the ministry, Mr. Adewale Bakare,
stated that such action would revive the sector, create jobs and preserve foreign exchange.
It reads:
“As
you are aware, government has over time engaged tomato industry
stakeholders on ways to deepen the industry and particularly, encourage
the use of locally produced tomato fruits across the value chain.

“It
is in that regard that I am directed to bring to your notice the
decision of the government towards boosting production and attracting
investments into the tomato sector.

“These include
classification of greenhouse equipment as agricultural equipment to
attract zero percent import duty. Ban on the importation of tomato
paste, powder or concentrate put up for retailing and others. Ban on
tomato prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid and others.

“Increase
in the tariff on the tomato concentrate and other concentrates (HS Code
2002.90.11.000) from five percent to fifty percent and additional levy
of $1,500 per metric tons with the objective of increasing the current
tariff from five percent to fifty percent (35% +5%+10%) and an
additional levy of US$1,500 metric ton.

“Restriction on
the importation of tomato concentrates to the seaports to address abuse
of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation scheme (ETLS) and inclusion of tomato
production and processing in the list of industries eligible for
investment incentives administered by the Nigeria Investment Promotion
Commission (NIPC).”

TomatoPackaged Tomato PasteAccording
to the Ministry, the foregoing measures which are situated within the
overall roadmap for the development of the industry, are expected to
create jobs, save foreign exchange and create capacity for export of
tomato concentrate and paste to ECOWAS sub –region and beyond.
Last
week, the Tomato Union of Nigeria (TUN) had sought the intervention of
the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in aiding access to raw materials
through its foreign exchange policy.
Worried about their inability
to access triple concentrates needed to produce tomato paste, spokesman
for the Union and Managing Director, Sonia Foods Industries Limited,
Nnamdi Nnodebe, said the present forex policy continues to encourage
smuggling of inferior tomato paste brands through the borders.
Nnodebe
said the only way to save the industry is for CBN to either remove
tomato paste triple concentrate from the FX policy restrictions or
provide the raw materials in question to the industry.
The TUN
stressed that if the local producers of tomato paste get the raw
materials directly from CBN, it would save the industry from collapse
and also help the government avoid creating more job losses.
“It
is no more profitable to produce locally hence the closures. How do you
expect producers of tomato paste in Nigeria to compete with their
foreign counterparts that have uninterrupted power supply, good roads
and distribution network, subsidized loans from their governments. The
major material used by the local brands, triple concentrate, has been
taken away through this Forex policy,” Nnodebe lamented.


Tomato
Paste Triple Concentrate is a crucial ingredient used to process
consumer products such as packs of tomato paste, ketchup, sauces, among
others.
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