- Minister Audu Ogbeh says importers are the real enemies of Nigeria as they wreck efforts to boost local production of goods
- Ogbeh says toothpicks and tomato pastes are still being imported into Nigeria and costing the country huge sums
- The minister explains how government is doing its best concerning the agricultural sector
Nigeria’s agriculture minister, Audu Ogbeh, has accused importers of being the country’s biggest enemies as he says they are the ‘greatest wreckers’ of the economy and effort at locally produced goods.
Ogbeh, according to Leadership, said this in Abuja when he appeared before the National Assembly joint committee on agriculture to defend the ministry’s budget.
The minister argued that international merchants including importers of products like toothpick, sugar, vegetables, and pencils had frustrated the government’s efforts at ensuring the citizens bought made in Nigeria goods.
“We are a nation of importers. Toothpick every year costs us 18 million dollars, tomato paste costs us 400 million dollars.
“Meanwhile, a basket of tomatoes is less than N2,000. The farmers are losing money because the processors do not have enough funds to set up factories.
“Two factories have started off. I am sure by the end of next year we can comfortably tell the importers of tomato paste to stop.
“Unfortunately, when you do you make enemies; even the importation of rice that we are trying to reduce is creating for us enemies, heavy enemies, people, who can kill if they have the opportunity because you are spoiling their business.
“Nobody should take this lightly. These guys have hijacked the economy of this country.
“They have taken it hostage and they have no intention of giving up. This regime is unpopular in part because it is trying to cut down imports and transfer the wealth to another thing.
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“I know what I am saying because I have been in this business for 41 years. We import sugar, handkerchief, toothpaste, even pencils.
“I read in the newspapers recently that the Champagne Ambassador in Nigeria said Nigerians love life. We are the biggest consumers of champagne on planet earth,” he said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Audu Ogbeh said good access roads in the country can boost agricultural production, open up business opportunities and further unite the country.
Ogbeh said this when he was addressing newsmen in Otukpo, Benue, after an inspection of federal roads.
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