By Jimoh Babatunde
An industrialist and Chief Executive Officer, Erisco Foods Ltd, Chief Eric Umeofia, has called for support for locally manufactured goods saying that the biggest challenge being faced by indigenous manufacturing organisations is lack of support and patronage from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Speaking at the company’s product unveiling and distributors reward event in Lagos, Umeofia said that if Nigerian Customs Service, NAFDAC and CBN implement their duties judiciously, Nigeria’s economy would improve within six months.
According to him, the biggest challenge Erisco Foods face as an indigenous manufacturing organisation is lack of support and patronage from MDAs and some Nigerians who prefer anything foreign.
He added that the company was yet to utilise 15 per cent of its 450,000 Metric Tonnes per annum processing capacity due to the lack of patronage from the MDAs and frustration in obtaining foreign exchange from financial institutions.
Chief Eric Umeofia also appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unify the country’s exchange rate to aid economic stability and recovery.
He noted that the multiple foreign exchange rates had caused economic disruptions, “If the country wants to rid itself of unstable foreign exchange rates, we should remove different exchange rates, the parallel market is about N770 while the official rate is around N440.
“The reality is that many businesses source their foreign exchange from the parallel market as access to foreign exchange from the official market is hard.
Umeofia noted that the apex bank should evolve a clear strategy and timeline on how it intends to achieve full unification of the country’s multiple exchange rates.
According to him, this will enhance the naira’s strength, boost liquidity, promote both domestic and foreign investment and stimulate economic growth.
Also, Mr Nnamdi Umeofia, the Managing Director, Erisco Foods, appealed to the Lagos State Government to ensure an enabling business environment, saying that the activities of some of its personnel were inimical to business growth.