Employer’s Union appeal to government to engage private sector in talks on forex ban on food import

The Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) has called on the Federal Government to go into talks with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and other concerned stakeholders in the food industry in a bid to find lasting solutions to the government’s plan to restrict foreign exchange on food imports.

The employer’s union said that engaging stakeholders in the food and beverage sector to discuss the backward integration agenda sought by the government with a follow-up period of a moratorium to enable food importing companies to find local sources of raw material would be a logical way to avoid the inherent dangers in the government’s new policy pronouncements.

They said if the government engages the concerned parties in the spirit of sustained partnership, it would address the various economic issues affecting the Nigerian state.

The association’s president, Patrick Anegbe, said in a signed letter that while there was a need for clarification on the government’s directive, it was important to state that the move might end up working against the very reason the plan was conceived.

Anegbe noted that the sudden ban would have a negative impact on the overall financial results of the companies affected, adding that it would lead to job loss among others.

“The OPS had tried to draw the attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the danger in not allowing for a reasonable period of time for those concerned to make adequate preparations to source their imported milk and dairy products locally.

“The negative economic implications of this move in the short run on the performance of the effect companies and the overall economy will be severe,” the letter read.

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