Abuja – A local starch processor, Mr Goke Adeyemi, has appealed to the Federal Government to increase the import duty on imported starch from 40 per cent to 60 per cent for local producers to compete favourably.
Adeyemi also the Chairman, Harvest Feed and Agro processing, told newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday that by increasing the import duty, this would boost local production and income.
The import adjustment tax which was initiated at the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) in 2018 suggested an increment on the import duty of starch.
He said that if the above suggestion were to be considered, it would encourage local producers into business who were finding it difficult to cope due to cost of production.
“It has been over one year since the Federal Government promised to review the import adjustment tax for imported starch, which is targeted at encouraging local manufacturers of starch across the country.
“Presently, importers of starch charged five to 10 per cent import duty which makes them sell starch at a very low price compared to local manufacturers.
“We are faced with many challenges in clouding infrastructure deficit and difficulty in sourcing raw materials. These are some of the reasons why we (local processors) sell very high because of the high cost in production.
“Many of the industries have gone ahead to fill their pipeline with the imported starch at the detriment of the locally produced starch which has created a negative impact on the ERGP of the Federal Government.
“I think we need to act fast. The Federal Government needs to look into this challenge and many others in order to immediately translate to demand for locally product and global quality standard Cassava Starch produced in Nigeria, ‘’ he said.
Adeyemi said that imported starch was sold at about N150, 000 per tonne, while the locally processed starch went for about N220, 000 per tonne.
According to him, Nigeria’s annual requirement for starch is about 600,000 tonnes and a tonne is sold for N220,000, that means, the annual value of starch in the Nigerian market is N132 billion.
“Unfortunately, a large chunk of this N132 billion is exported to other countries through the continued importation of starch which can be processed locally if enabling environment is made available by the government for both the farmers and processors.’’ (NAN)