Document Show Erisco Foods’ Claim On Forex Untrue


The claims by Erisco food, a Nigerian tomato processing company, that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has deliberately refused to allocate forex to the company may not be true after all according to documents from the CBN.

The tomato company has received about N2 billion worth of forex in intervention from the CBN in the last two years, of which N1 billion was received early this year, with claims to “finance” the purchase of a tomato processing machine.

An acting director in the corporate communications department of the CBN, Isaac Okorafor, however said that the CBN allocates forex only to banks, adding that manufacturers should go to their banks for forex.

The CBN official who is currently in Washington DC for the annual meetings of the IMF/World Bank, said, “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,” he said.

“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.”

Also, a source at one of the commercial banks who pleaded anonymity, said that Erisco may have flouted some of the CBN guidelines.

“I don’t want to get into the CBN-Erisco matter, but word is going round that Erisco may have been importing fresh tomatoes,” the source said.



    Eric Umeofia, chief executive officer of Erisco foods, had on Wednesday told journalists during a press conference that over 1,500 employees of the company could lose their jobs due to lack of support from the central bank.

    He alleged that CBN does not make good its promise to allocate 60% of foreign exchange to indigenous manufacturers.

    “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,” he had said.

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