Business Hilights

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Erisco Foods received N2bn intervention from CBN

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The recent claims by indigenous food group, Erisco Foods that it has not received adequate support from the government has punctured by a revelation that he received about N2bn intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Few days ago, the industrialist, Chief Eric Umeofia, Erisco’s chief executive officer (CEO), said over 1,500 employees could lose their jobs due to lack of support from the apex bank, stressing that “It is difficult for indigenous manufacturers to access forex despite CBN’s promise to manufacturers that they will allocate 60 per cent of foreign exchange to them”.

But analysts say having received about N2bn intervention form the federal government does not mean that the prevailing scarcity of forex cannot erode same and put the company on the part of growth.

He argued that “It is unbelievable that for over two months, no forex has been allocated to Erisco Foods whereas the same forex is allocated daily for the importation of finished goods.

“Products that can be easily produced locally like fish head, tomato paste, razor blade are on the forex bids of the various banks.

The claims seems faulty as a gazette document sighted by Business Hilights from the CBN clearly listed Erisco Foods as a beneficiary of N2bn intervention fund in the last two years.

According to the document, out of the N2 billion, Erisco got the latest N1 billion early in 2016, with claims to “finance” the purchase of a tomato processing machine.

Acting Director, Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the CBN does not allocate forex to anyone, so the manufacturers should approach their banks for needed forex.

He added that “By practice, we do not join issues with individuals on matters of this nature. All I can tell you is that the CBN does not allocate foreign exchange,” noting that “All business persons, manufacturers, traders, etc are expected to approach their respective banks to bid for and obtain foreign exchange. Whether they succeed or not is their business.

“No amount of blackmail through paid advertorial or sponsored reports could make the CBN change its policy.”

Investigations on whether the rumours making the rounds that the company flouted CBN guidelines for access to fund is still ongoing by Business Hilights as at press time.


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