BENINN CITY – Nigerians have been advised against the consumption of imported palm oil because it loses quality by the time it reaches Nigerian soil.
The Managing Director, Presco Plc/Siat Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Felix Nwabuko gave the warning at the annual end of year party of the company where 25 workers were honoured for their commitment, diligence and loyalty.
According to him, while local production has not been able to meet the demand in the market, what is produced by the company meets international best practices and therefore achieves better performance in the market against imported palm oil which diminishes in quality.
“We have increased our refining capacity to five times what it is now and we have planted over 3,500 hectares with over 22,000 planted hectares to meet the shortfall in the demand for palm oil”, Nwabuko stated.
While there have been challenges in the industry particularly in 2016 where there was noticeable fluctuations in the foreign exchange market, he rated 2017 as a most stable period for the economy.
“The Nigerian economy contracted in 2016 for the first time in two decades. Inflation rose to an 11-year high of 18.6 per cent in the last quarter of the year. Monetary liquidity deteriorated, forex availability worsened both in terms of scarcity and depreciation of the naira against major international currency.
“These and other factors had a combo effect on business, manifesting in the form of shrinked production capacities, low demand, volatile market for our products and increased level of uncertainties that persisted throughout the year. We keenly follow government efforts and measures thus far in 2017 to bring improvements to the economy and business environment”, he declared.
Mr. Nwabuko commended the Edo State government for its level of consultation in the area of palm oil production, adding that it is sowing seeds which fruits will soon manifest.
He therefore, praised the loyalty and commitment of the workforce, saying that what “we are doing is to show the staff that we appreciate their efforts, resilience and their contributions in driving the objective the company set for itself in 2017 by pulling together in one direction.”
He however expressed hope that it will always surmount whatever challenges there are in the industry, particularly as Nigeria’s focus is now on agriculture so that it should grow to the level expected of it in the sector.
Nwabuko further provided clarifications on misgivings in its area of operation in Ethiope-East, Delta State, adding that the company is planning one of the best palm oil estate for the area and has so far employed over 1,600 workers who are contributing to the local economy.