The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, on Saturday, ruled out the possibility of reversing the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which excludes some imported goods and services from the list of items that can benefit from the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sanni Onogu, stated this while hosting the Tomato Sub-Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, whose members visited him.
The tomato paste producers had sought Saraki’s intervention to lift the exemption by the CBN on certain imported goods.
But Saraki said based on the present economic realities, difficult decisions should be taken to overcome the challenges.
The Senate President said, “It is high time we started telling ourselves the home truth as a nation. We are where we are because of our refusal to take hard decisions.
“As a country, we have to chart a new way different from the past, and that path is going into manufacturing as we cannot continue to remain an import dependent country.”
He challenged the tomato paste producers to focus more on how to be full-fledged manufacturers of the product using local raw materials.
Saraki also expressed surprise that in spite of the high level of local cultivation of tomatoes, the producers were still importing the Triple Concentrate used in the production of the product, which, he said, could be produced locally by raising the production level of tomatoes in the country.