Okey Sampson, Aba
Former chairman of Association of Aba Industrialists (AAI), Chief Emma Obi, has warned that over 15, 000 workers in agro allied industries in Nigeria are on the verge of losing their jobs unless the Federal Government checkmates ongoing smuggling of ban vegetable oil into the country.
Speaking in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, Obi noted that between 2016 and 2017, the Federal Government banned the importation of vegetable oil into the country which made many agro-allied industries that closed down to reopen for business thereby giving jobs to many Nigerians.
He regretted that not long after the government placed ban on vegetable oil (Olin) than smugglers went on rampage to flood the nation’s markets with the product in active connivance with some corrupt Customs officials particularly at Onne ports.
“In 2016 and 2017, all agro-allied industrialists in the country commended the Federal Government for the restriction order it placed on the importation of vegetable oil, but since last year, importation of the product had resumed unabated thereby endangering the survival of local industries with its impending loss of over 15, 000 jobs across the country.
“Reliably, foreign companies of this product are getting from between 15 to 20 percent subsidy from their home government to argument their cost and profitability so that they can sustain productivity”.
Obi said this economic policy by countries of origin of the product coupled with the fact that adequate duty is not paid on the smuggled Olin, prices of imported vegetable oil are far cheaper thus making it hard for locally produced vegetable oil to compete favourably in the market thereby crippling local industries.