Dangote Industries Limited yesterday said that it would soon shut down its Nigeria operations due to the ‘harsh operating environment that gives advantage to imported production.’ The Group Vice President of the company, Alhaji Sani Dangote said that the factory had already stopped production of tomato paste due to the unfair advantage given foreign products.
The consequence was that the company was not able to pay up the farmers from which it bought raw materials unless there was urgent government intervention. This is coming on the back of Erisco’s threat to shut down in 30 days if FG does not act quickly as reported to you by Nairametrics.
However, while Erisco complained about lack of forex, Dangote’s chief compliant was the lack of implementation of the FG’s decision to ban the importation of tomato paste. Dangote said that ministries and government agencies were dragging their feet in addressing the issue while precious forex was being used to import tomato paste.
“We are not looking for forex. We are only saying that government should put up a policy where we are producing tomato concentrate to those industries that are into packaging; we are not into retail packaging,” Sun News quotes him as saying.
If what Dangote said is anything to go by, then it means that the number of Nigerians that would lose their jobs soon is far more than 2,000. It is at this junction that one wonders where the ‘diversification drive’ is actually going if in the state of the Nigerian economy, the FG cannot stand its ground to ban the importation of a product that is sufficiently produced in Nigeria. However, it quickly implemented the ban on rice, whose production is still grossly insufficient.