The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has expressed sadness over the unbridled importation of goods into Nigeria.
Speaking on Tuesday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Agriculture in Abuja, the minister said some Nigerians import pizza from London.
He appeared before the committee to defend the ministry’s budget for 2019.
The Cable newspaper reported the minister said those making the orders for pizza usually do so in the morning, through British Airways airline.
“Do you know, sir, that there are Nigerians who use their cellphones to import pizza from London? They buy in London and bring it on British Airways in the morning to pick up at the airport,” he said.
“It is a very annoying situation and we have to move a lot faster in cutting down some of these things,” Mr Ogbeh said.
There are over 50 pizza outlets in Nigeria, including Mario Pizza and Fast Food, Purple Stone Cafe, K’s Pizza, Burgers Pizza and Domino’s Pizza.
One of the most famous Pizza outlets in Nigeria, Domino’s Pizza, started an online promo in March 2019.
Mr Ogbeh lamented that Nigeria is a nation of importers.
“Toothpick every year costs us $18 million; tomato paste costs us $400 million. Meanwhile, a basket of tomatoes is less than N2,000,” he said.
The minister also lamented that farmers in Nigeria are losing a huge amount of money yearly as a result of the rate of import of food items.
“The farmers are losing money because the processors do not have enough funds to set up factories,” he said.
“Two factories have started off. I am sure by the end of next year we can comfortably tell the importers of tomato paste to stop,” he said
The chairman of the committee, Abdullahi Adamu, also lamented the high rate of importation of fruits and vegetables and called on the federal government to address the issue.
“What is eating deep into our capacity to develop are the little things,” he said.
“Go to these major shopping malls in Abuja, Kano, Lagos; go to the sections where they sell vegetables, any of them, they are imported from South Africa.”