…Nigeria to be self sufficient in tomatoes production by 2019
By Suzan Nwachukwu Abuja
The Federal government has said over 2million businesses have been impacted by its various economic investment and innovation programmes.
This is even as Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, (MITI) Dr Okechukwu Enelamah hinted that by 2019, Nigeria will be self sufficient in tomatoe processing and production.
At the launch the MITI Mini Documentary Series on Ease of Doing Business, Diversification and SMEs Dr Enelamah used the opportunity to interact with stakeholders as well as business owners on the challenges faced while conducting businesses and also them on the effort of the government towards economic recovery and growth plan.
Business owners, entrepreneurs and service providers took turn to register dissatisfactions over isuues ranging from difficulty in accessing the export market, double taxation, access to policy makers on trade facilitation and finance among others.
On Tomato policy which gives priority for local production, the trade and investment helmsman said the policy is in the right direction where import tarrifs were raised to give advantage to local industries and where smuggling across the border has also been banned.
“We are equally working with the CBN who have provided the Anchor Borrower Funds to mitigate finance problems. We are giving ourselves two years to be self sufficient in tomatoes processing and production, it maybe ambitious but we are seeing results.”
“Foreign investors are willing to come in, we are already meeting with some of them who wants to build big tomotoe factories here, process it here and sell to Nigerians.”
On export and varying challenges faced by intending exporters, Dr. Enelamah underscored the importance of export is one of those things the government have accepted as a priority even as more people need access to the market.
To mitigate some of these challenges, he said the government is reactivating the Export Expansion Grant hitherto suspended so that more people can gain access into the export market.
“Export don’t just happen, it is engineered by understanding what people need, entering agreement with them and by working with them to developed the goods in the quality they want. We are also working with exporters to gain access to market.” he said.
On double taxation, the minister while sympathising with those affected said the issue is of immense importance and efforts are already on cause to address it.
“the issue have have been raised at the Industrial Advisory Council and we have also made a presentation to the Federal Economic Council. We are expecting an approval to published an approved list of levies that should come from state and the federal level. This will guide the taxation regime at federal state and local government level.”
“Also, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) under the Joint Tax Goal is trying to streamline tax payment so that one can pay the taxes on time to all the entities required at the same time without the stress of visiting each of them.” he said.
He added that “we are also working with the states because issues of internally generated revenue and tax is of utmost importance to them but the good news is that they are willing to work with us. We can look for a way of increasing the revenues while removing the taxational burden particularly for SMEs.”
The Minister of state for Industry Trade and Investment (MITI) Mrs Aisha Abubakar while responding to questions said over 2million businesses have been impacted by various economic reform programs of the government and most of the businesses have been registered and already started off.
Mrs Abubakar also lent her voice to some of the issues raised, particularly on the leather industry which according to her, has already achieved a lot.
She added that the ministry is gething support from World Bank under the Growth and Employment GEM program as well as the Nigeria Export promotion Council (NEPC) on the validation for the leather policy.
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