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FG’s latest bans on Tomato paste import’ll boost local production, saturate market soon

A top official of the Dangote Tomato Factory in Kano has hailed the federal government for the latest ban on the importation of Tomato paste, saying the new policy will encourage more investors in the sector.

The official who pleaded anonymity said production activities are ongoing at the factory and there are expectations that more investors will rely on the ban to start fresh investment as the nation is bless3ed with the product.

Only Monday, federal government, though the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, announced the ban on the importation of tomato paste, powder or concentrate, and increased the tariff on importation of tomato concentrate among.

Though the ban was not total, analysts say moving the duty paid from five to 50 per cent can be said to be a ban because nobody can make gain importing at that rate.

Market statistics show that   the value of imported tomato paste in Nigeria is about $170 million and $50 million spent on triple tomato concentrate.

Details in a document from the Federal Ministry of Industry and trade and investment titled: ‘Implementation of the tomato sector policy’ which was signed by the Director, Industry Development of the ministry, Mr. Adewale Bakare, stated that such action would revive the sector, create jobs and preserve foreign exchange.

According to the gazette material, “As you are aware, government has overtime engaged tomato industry stakeholders on ways to deepen the industry and particularly, encourage the use of locally produced tomato fruits across the value chain. It is in that regard that I am directed to bring to your notice the decision of the government towards boosting production and attracting investments into the tomato sector.

“These include ‘classification of greenhouse equipment as agricultural equipment to attract zero per cent import duty. Ban on the importation of tomato paste, powder or concentrate put up for retailing and others Ban on tomato prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid and others.

“Increase in the tariff on the tomato concentrate and other concentrates (HS Code 2002.90.11.000) from five percent to 50 percent and additional levy of $1,500 per metric tons with the objective of increasing the current tariff from five percent to 50 percent (35percent +5 percent+10 percent) and an additional levy of US$1,500 metric ton. Restriction on the importation of tomato concentrates to the seaports to address abuse of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation scheme (ETLS) and inclusion of tomato production and processing in the list of industries eligible for investment incentives administered by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).”

“It is expected that the foregoing measures which are situated within the overall road map for the development of the industry, will create jobs, save foreign exchange and create capacity for export of tomato concentrate and paste to ECOWAS sub –region and beyond, ” the document summed.