By Adedapo Adesanya
The Association of Food and Agro Processors (AFAP) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to easily access foreign exchange for procurement of machinery.
The call was made by the National President of the association, Mr Duro Kuteyi, on the sidelines of the award and end-of-year ceremony of Spectra Industries Limited in Lagos on Thursday.
Mr Kuteyi, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Spectra Industries Limited, noted that some members of the association had secured funding under CBN’s financial intervention.
He said that the challenge was converting the funds to dollars at the CBN official exchange rate to import the machines.
“Most machines required for production are not available in Nigeria and purchasing foreign exchange at the black market rate to buy the machines will be too costly.
“We know that many SMEs can export quality goods to other countries, particularly African countries if we have durable and functional equipment to aid our production,” he said.
According to him, having access to machines will enable SMEs to deepen economic growth, assist to improve foreign exchange earnings, job creation, and productivity in the country.
He said that AFAP was advocating for an opportunity to increase food processing for local and export markets to ensure food security for the nation.
Speaking on Spectra Industries’ performance in 2020, Mr Kuteyi said that the company had stable growth in spite of COVID-19 lockdown, #EndSARS protest and other uncertainties experienced during the year.
“Critical decisions that will change the face of our company are being taken and I believe this will begin to manifest in 2021,” he said.
He commended the staff and partners for their assiduousness in enhancing productivity and growth that had assisted the company to maintain a strong footprint in the food industry.
Mr Kuteyi encouraged the staff to do more in driving the company to greater heights in the coming year.
Also speaking at the event, the Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, and Cooperative, Mrs Lola Akande, commended the company’s giant stride since its inception in 1992.
Mrs Akande, who was represented by Mrs Yemisi Olayinka, a Director in the ministry, noted that diligence and team spirit was vital to business success and positive recognition irrespective of the industry of operation.
She commended the staff for their unrelenting efforts and commitment in contributing to the success of the company, and indeed the state.
At the event, Mrs Ronke Fowobaje got the Long Service Award after 21 years in service to the organisation, while Mrs Elizabeth Ogie was recognised as the Best Salesperson in Lagos.
Other categories of awardees were Best Person in Production, Best Female Staff, Best Male Staff, among others.