Lagos - The National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) on Wednesday appealed to the Federal Government to give 18 months’ extension to local tomato processing companies to source for production materials.
Mike Olarenwaju, Head of Education unit of the union, made the appeal in an interview with the media in Lagos.
Olarenwaju spoke against the backdrop of the listing of tomato paste among the 41 items banned by the Central Bank of Nigeria from accessing foreign exchange from the official window.
"We have written to the government to give local producing firms at least one and a half years to source for their raw materials locally to remain in business."
"Some manufacturing firms in Nigeria do not have money to buy the machine that produces the paste,’’ he said.
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He said that the inability of tomato-processing companies to import paste and other raw materials used in their production process had drastically affected them.
The union leader said that Nigeria’s climate could help the cultivation of tomatoes but processing them into tomato paste was a different kind of business.
Olarenwaju said that those who were packaging tomato paste depended on output from those who were processing them before they could package them.
He added that many manufacturers did not have the machine.
He said that the jobs of the workers were already at stake unless the ban was reversed and that manufacturers who could not get the raw materials were beginning to close their firms.