The Federal Government has announced the new policy for tomato aimed at reducing N52 billion spent on the annual importation of 150, 000 metric tons of tomato concentrate through the neighbouring countries into Nigeria.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI), Okechukwu Enelamah who announced the new policy at a media parley yesterday in Abuja, informed that the policy was aimed at promoting local production of fresh tomato fruit required for fresh fruit consumption and processing and also increase local production of tomato concentrate and reduce post-harvest losses.
Enelamah, said the policy was expected to create at least 60,000 additional jobs in fresh fruits production and processing.
According to the minister, the policy restricts the importation of tomato concentrates to the seaports to address the abuse of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), stops the importation of tomatoes preserved otherwise by vinegar or acetic acid; and increases the tariff on tomato concentrate to 50 per cent with an additional levy of $1,500 per metric ton.
Nigeria imports an average of 150,000 metric tons of tomato concentrate per annum valued at $170million mostly due to inadequacy in capacity to produce tomato concentrate. Current demand for fresh tomato fruits is estimated at about 2.45million metric tons per annum while the country produces only about 1.8million Metric tonnes per annum.
The minister said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the policy and the implementation of certain extraordinary price-based measures to safeguard the balance of payments, under the condition of recession.
Implementation of the new policy is expected to commence from May 7, 2017.