By Mohammed Lawal
Zaria – Nigeria is losing over N15 billion annually to importation of processed tomato, Alhaji Bello Abubakar, Deputy Director, Procurement at the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria, has said.
Abubakar made the disclosure on Tuesday during the bidding of 2017 projects, held at NARICT in Basawa, Zaria, Kaduna State.
He said that the projects being bidded for included physical structure of two tomato companies at Jigawa and Yobe states, supply of fabrication (factory equipment) and construction of green house at Jigawa State.
“Nigeria is the leading producer of tomato in Africa and 13th in the world, yet the country is importing over 66 million tonnes of processed tomato, valued at over N15 billion annually, according CBN report.”
Abubakar said in its effort to reduce the huge amount lost annually from importation of processed tomato, NARICT had invented and developed tomato processing technology.
He appealed to governments at all levels, private organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to patronise the product to boost tomato cultivation and improve the production capacity of the institute.
He lauded the efforts of Sen. Mohammed Ubali-Shittu, representing Jigawa North-East Senatorial District and Rep. Sama’ila Gadaka, representing Fune/Fika Federal Constituency of Jigawa for attracting such giant projects to their constituencies.
Opening the bid earlier, Alhaji Muktar Umar-Ahmed, one of the senior personnel at the institute, said five companies bidded for the projects.
He listed the companies to include Beam System Limited, Attajiri Global Limited, Ngurno Investment Limited, AMST Shukrullah Limited and Gen-Tech. Power Supply Nigeria Limited.
Umar-Ahmed said the essence of inviting different categories of personalities to witness the bid opening was to ensure transparency, accountability and to comply with Procurement Act.