How Jonathan govt. issued multi billion naira rice import quotas last day in office

Former President Goodluck Jonathan
Former President Goodluck Jonathan

A few hours to the expiration of President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, papers for a huge rice import quota worth billions of Naira were rushed in for the president’s accent, ostensibly as parting gifts to cronies and businessmen close to the power corridor.

A state House memo dated May 27, 2015 and obtained by PREMIUM TIMES conveyed the President’s approval of another memo forwarded to him only a day earlier by his Vice President, Namadi Sambo.

In the earlier memo dated May 26, 2016, the then Vice President had sought a subsidy approval for select rice importers to bring in a total of 782,000 metric tonnes under what was termed ‘2015 Rice Quota Allocations’.

The then President signed the largesse deal on his last day in Aso Rock. But the allocation was rejected, and cancelled by the succeeding Muhammadu Buhari administration.

PREMIUM TIMES had on December 21, 2015, published an investigation detailing the corruption that plagued the 2014 Rice Quota Allocations and how some of the privileged beneficiaries of the rice subsidy colluded with smugglers to subvert the national rice development policy.

The report exposed the ingenious ways employed by the beneficiaries to sell their quotas to pure businessmen, helping them to dodge the payment of 40 percent tariff to government.

The same ingenuity was deployed to divert cargoes originally meant for Cotonou, a notorious seaport that thrives on welcoming any vessel carrying items on Nigeria’s import prohibition list.

The May 27, 2015 quota was not the first to be released for the year 2015.

A botched attempt was earlier made on April 13, 2015 when a list of 22 beneficiary companies was released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture after what was supposed to have been a laborious due process.

However the joy of the new beneficiaries were short-lived when nine days later, on April 22, the same Agric Ministry reversed itself and cancelled and withdrew all allocations.

Before the then Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina, departed for the African Development Bank as its president, he had in a memo titled ‘Approved List of Companies Allocated Rice Import Quota for April 2015 – March 2016 Period’ and sent to his Finance Ministry counterpart, mentioned that his ministry had identified a domestic rice supply gap of 1.3 million metric tonnes for the year 2015.

He said he had, therefore, issued import quota allocations to 22 approved companies to import 961,000 metric tonnes of rice at 10 percent duty and 20 percent levy.

However, in announcing the cancellation of Mr. Adewunmi’s quota list, Permanent Secretary Of the ministry, S. T Echono, talked about a new information reaching the ministry to the effect that some Nigerian rice farmers were unable to sell their paddy to local rice millers due to a flooding of the market with imported rice.

Industry watchers blamed the flooding on influx of smuggled rice from Cotonou and Niger Republic.

To keen observers, the discordant tunes coming from the same Ministry belied high-powered politics in the scramble for a chunk of a new national cake.

The second quota announced by Mr. Adewunmi had new beneficiaries such as Arewa Livestock Farms, African Farms, Olea Nigeria Ltd, Dependable Foods & Confectionary, Blue Line Investments Nigeria Ltd, Quarra Rice, Hammond Wright Nigeria Ltd and Blaine & Wilkes Nigeria Ltd.

All of them were however thrown out of the list of the third quota beneficiaries supervised by Vice President Sambo.

The Sambo committee reviewed downward the national supply gap from 1.3 million MT to 782,000 MT just as it pruned beneficiaries from 22 to 20. But even the third quota allocation is not recognised by the Customs service, and is treated as though it never happened.

The gulf in the two figures bandied as national supply gap is seen by concerned stakeholders as indicator of how sentiment and cronyism are robbing government of much-needed revenue in the face of dwindling oil fortunes.

A policy analyst, Evelyn Beredugoh, blamed the discrepancy on phantom local capacities as claimed by many of the local rice investors.

She said, “For you to qualify for import quota you must have a rice farm or rice mill the size of which determines the size of your allocations. Some people call themselves investors even when they have no verifiable business down the rice value chain.

“Some of the investors quote local capacities that are only a figment of their imagination. Because there is no serious verification exercise, these phantom figures are added up as national rice production capacity. The higher the local capacity, the lower the national supply gap.

“In the end, you find that the actual supply gap might be higher than the 1.5 million metric tonnes quoted in 2014. The real beneficiaries remain the smugglers while the real investors face hard times in boosting local production which is the only objective of the rice policy.”


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  • Spoken word

    If Nigeria was a country without sentiments Jonathan will be in jail by now

    • Tritcall

      Without sentiments go and arrest him.

      • Chuks

        Arrest is not punishment. Jonathan will be disgraced and shamed enough worse than arrest. Never again shall we have his level of mediocrity and incompetence near government parastatals or public service. I feel how ashamed you guys are when these putrid stories of Jonathan’s rendezvous in office and timidity in attitude is brought to the open. His former boss Yar’Adua never rated him high, never trusted or believed in him and refused to hand over Nigeria’s fate to him. Everyday reminds me of how wrong I was supporting him in 2011.

        • AFRICANER

          That is a funny comment given that Jonathan is perhaps better than 99% of the current leadership of Nigeria. And that’s conservatively.

        • Jokymama

          God bless you Chuks! Many so called “Jonathanians” today don’t realise that it was our public outcry that gave him the opportunity to become presient in 2010/11. Those of us who fought his cause and saw him become an irresponsible leader also championed his removal from the presidency without regrets. It is not a birthright anymore.

      • Julius

        Are you not bothered by the news coming out now about what they did when he was the President ? Dasuki said he got the approval to shared the arms purchase money for political purposes. That doesnt bother you ? In a sane country, Jonathan would have come out and call a press conference to make his side of the story clear to the public. I guess he still dont give a damn. We shall see !

    • AFRICANER

      The standard to judge these revelations is really, are they legal when the president does it or not?

      Then, the astonishing thing is how misguided the public is in channeling their anger at the holder of the office, instead of the laws that permit them.

      A country, especially Nigeria, should be structured in a fashion that make anyone , when it comes corruption, that would, could not; instead of pursuing one where any one who could, would not. That is insanity.

      • Chuks

        There’s no Nigerian law that permits or encourages stupidity or irresponsible attitude in government. The law that Theordore Orji used to mismanage Abia State to a disaster is the same law Akpabio, Fashola, Amaechi used to achieve some laudable development in their states. The clear fact is that Jonathan’s type is ignorant of the law or practice of good governance. Checkout his woeful performance from Bayelsa to Abuja. It is difficult to understand what the former president went into politics for.

        • AFRICANER

          We have no heroes. And I believe it’s us that is not only the solution, but the problem.

          We’ve tried your approach for 55 years now, and others, perhaps longer; let’s try mine.

        • band olu

          D problem with Jonathan is that he just wasn’t cut out for leadership, he got to were he got to in politics by chance & i think he once mentioned it himself.Those around him knew his weakness & took full advantage of it, they knew with him in power they can do anything they wanted & get away with it, under him we had many presidents & we didn’t really know who d president was…

          • Denny

            You just hit the nail on the head.

        • AFRICANER

          Try security vote. Try immunity given to presidents, vice presidents, governors, deputy governors, etc.

          Those laws are irresponsible. What about assembly pay structure? What about virtually all of them?

          • Chuks

            The love of money, not the responsible use of money, is the root of evil. A leader whose mind is focused on security votes, immunity and pay structure will always take irresponsible decisions to satisfy his desire for abusing those laws. There are more laws for good governance than there are, if any, for bad governance. The choice is yours. Conversely we are on the same page that a leader can be irresponsible – like the previous government – not the law.

          • AFRICANER

            I’m glad we are on the same page in regards to my second point; however, you might have missed my third, as no reasonable person may disagree with it, and it is thus:

            The law should be made in a way that no single branch of the three can spend any budgeted money without a co-signatory of a second branch, unless in an emergency, whereupon that co-sign MUST be obtained 60 days subsequent to such emergency. For instance, the assembly’s auditors must co-sign any expenditure from the presidency, and vice versa. It could be established that any sum over 5 Million Naira must obtain such signatories. The budget must be balanced and so on…

            No security votes; no immunity from criminal prosecution, perhaps immunity from civil law suits and so on. You catch my drift.

  • Fairgame

    The fastest way to get noticed and attract attention to any useless story by useless journalists for hire is just to have ‘Jonathan’ in the headline. Useless write up. N1 is not yet equal to $1, stock market has lost 1.3 trillion, investors have taken to their heels and all this useless mouthpiece of a clueless and directionless government can write about is this useless story.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      ….to be read, concluded upon and trashed by a useless PDPig like you, uhmn?

    • Chuks

      Stock market crashed in 2008 and has never truly recovered till date. The investors that came during Jonathan’s tenure are rent collectors, one room office contractors and foreign crooks. They must leave for Nigeria to survive. They thrive where corruption is the order of the day. No genuine investor would come to an airport where immigration demands money even to direct you to a nearby taxi. Good enough you said they have taken to their heels. This means they left no asset, investment or infrastructure rather took their paper allocations and list of friendly government officials and ran away. The Israeli man that assisted to transport black market $9.5 million to South Africa is one of such Jonathan’s investors!

      • AFRICANER

        In my honest opinion, Jonathan may not have been a pillar, in our progress as a democracy, and indeed our brand of capitalism, he was a joist. However, we lack beams, concrete, wolmanized blocks, and reinforced footing bearing, to construct a solid foundation.

        Was he a saint? No!
        Could he have done better, and much more? Yes!

        But, it is puzzling the amount of vitriol directed at this gentle, and all-embracing man. He was no Jefferson, but none of our politicians is. Then again, we are no republicans. We deserve the government we get.

        The sooner we moved on and hold the current crop accountable, the better. Jonathan is not the worst we’ve had. Discount all the childish propaganda of the last 10 months. Don’t fall for it anymore. Hold this administration responsible, and accountable for their own good.

      • Usher

        Spot on response.

      • Ayelala

        It is just plain common sense. I am tired of hearing about these so called.
        Apart from a few who lent out the name of their brands like hotels and proctal and gamble( who expanded their operation). I cannot think of any serious investor in Nigeria.
        Most are simply fronts for the thievingpoliticians and you can tell from the lazy so called investment they make in hotels

    • Julius

      All that happened under the Jonathan administration. Whose name would you like to see on the headline when the issues is about the country under him ? If Jonathan and his thievery minions didnt messed up the country, looted us blind, stashed our money overseas, Buhari would not have to do what he is doing now and maybe the N1 might be close to $1. As for the stock market, you may not be following the news lately. Its all over the world. The powerful economies are getting hit as well.Be serious.

      • joe

        Don’t be silly Julius. When OBJ gave kaduna refinery as parting gift to Danggote and Otedola what did your and likes said?. Which one is less offensive?. Approval to import rice or our national assets ?.

        • Julius

          Joe, why is it that when somebody mentioned what Jonathan did, which is facts, you folks comes up with some other people name and what they did. How does that look good for him ? Are you saying just because Obj, Awolowo, Adekunle, Ajasin and Tinubu did something then its okay for whatever Jonathan did ? People always mention the Yorubas name to justify what he did. Not saying you are doing that but, thats usually the response we get. If Jonathan shoot somebody, folks will come up with a Yoruba person that shot somebody in 1959. Be serious bro.

          • 9ja deserves better

            UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

            Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
            Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
            “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
            “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says…..

          • Julius

            So, thats why a Yoruba name must be mentioned when Jonathan name is mentioned in regards to what he did while in office ? . Okay, I got you. Thanks

        • band olu

          Two wrongs do not make a right….

        • kuli

          Refinery is less offensive, it would have saved us from the needless fuel imports and dubious subsidy payments. We export crude just to import PMS. Like wtf!

        • 9ja deserves better

          UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

          Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
          Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
          “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
          “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says.

      • share Idea

        So the the hit other nations are feeling is as a result of GEJ’s looting in Nigeria? Nigeria we hail thee

        • Julius

          Did you read my comment at all or you simply too simple to comprehend what I said ? How do I blame Jonathan for the world stock market of other Nations base on my comment ?. Read it again and if you are still confused, I’ll be glad to explain my statement to you like a child that you are.

    • Thrilled-Sam

      The guilty are [already] afraid….wait for the coming judgement don’t be in a hurry, in the spirit of a fairgame!

      • 9ja needs a new leader

        UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

        Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
        Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
        “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
        “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says…

    • Maria

      Hahahahahahahahah…useless fairgame…useless comment.

  • Rommel

    The name Jonathan Goodluck should become the synonym for graft and malfeasance in Nigeria,where is even that one called Nemadi Sambo? the oxygen that was being breathed by that man on behalf of Nigeria was a waste,the only thing I heard from that man when he was Vice president was Asailam Aleikun, Asalam alekum Allah Akbar yeo wahhh!

    • Peter_Edo

      he once said and I am paraphrasing “a vote for PDP is a vote for muslims for there are more Muslims in the PDP including me , and there are more Christians in APC.”

      • Rommel

        HahahahahahahahLol! I fear ohhhh!

    • Julius

      He was here in some rehabilitation center after some foot surgery, I think. Spending our money as usual, Im surprised his name is not coming up much. Im sure it will soon.

  • agbobu

    GOODLUCK JONATHAN MUST BE TRIED IN THE LAW COURTS AND IF FOUND GUILTY AFTER VERY FAIR, DILIGENT, VERIFIABLE LEGAL PROCESSES, MUST BE SENT TO PRISON FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE AND ALL THE MONEY AND WEALTH LOOTED AND STOLEN MUST BE SIEZED BY THE GOVERNMENT. THIS WILL ACT AS A VERY SEVERE DETERRENT TO ALL AND SUNDRY, THAT POLITICS SHOULD BE DEDICATED SELFLESS SERVICE NOT VERY MASSIVE AND VERY OBSCENE LOOTING AND STEALING.

    • 9ja needs another presido

      UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

      Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
      Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
      “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
      “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says.

  • clairvoyance

    Hardly you would hear any dubious transaction that took place under Gej’s regime without is name not featuring. How Nigeria survived under his ruderless ruler ship still baffles me cos we did have a con man actually as president.

    • 9ja is finished under buhari

      UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

      Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
      Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
      “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
      “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says………………

      • hummm

        Its only a mental patient like u that keeps repeating itself.C’mon go take your meds and get off this thread.

  • Outraged

    Jonathan must face the firing squad. Barawo

  • 9JA IS DYING DEAD UNDER BUHARI

    UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

    Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
    Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
    “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
    “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says.

    • Dave

      So in whose interest do you think Financial Times write? Ordinary Nigerians? Think man … Think

  • Iskacountryman

    who cares about rice?…not me…

  • una no dey tire?

    Premium Times when will you people grow up–Anad for how much? Una no dey tire with una lie lie?

    • share Idea

      Did you not read on news last time that the chief lying minister paid them visit this week and have drop another brown envelope for them to continue their PR for the administration.

  • 9JA IS DYING DEAD UNDER BUHARI

    9JA IS DYING DEAD UNDER BUHARI • 24 minutes ago

    UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

    Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
    Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
    “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
    “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says.

    • Du Covenant

      The same FT described GEJ as ‘a lousy, failed president’…….just before the elections!.

    • excel

      Get a life. You are wasting.

  • onyefeze

    PREMIUM TIMES, shall we continue to dwell on the evils of ex-President Jonathan and miss the good of President Buhari? Will you not feed us with what Buhari is doing to better the life of Nigerians and leave the agencies and committees he has appointed to fight corruption and corrupt practices to do their job? This government is almost going to spend one year in office without given this country even a budget. If Buhari has cancelled the ‘legitimate’ approval given by his predecessor for the importation of rice because be perceived some shadiness in the deal, why wouldn’t you leave it at that and tell us what Buhari is doing to stem the slide in the value of Naira, arrest the spiraling inflation, provide employment, reduce the queues in the filling station and relieve the negative pressure on the economy. I think we are getting tired of Jonathan did this, Jonathan did that. Can we start hearing Buhari did this, Buhari did that please.

  • Deedee

    @onyefeze:disqus

    Goodluck Jonathan is a wretch and will soon be obliterated from history for insane thefts.
    Here was a nobody who found himself in office but chose to do evil with a God-send chance.
    He reformed nothing but chose stealing as his existential purpose and he messed up Nigeria.

    • hummm

      Stealing is reform my friend

  • Anonymous

    Everything about the past administration is corrupt. This is a stale news. What everyone should be working on is how to fix the crippled Nigerian economy. The economic policy in place is obsolete.

  • wazobia scatter!!!!!!

    fortunato ebele …………………… the consummate thief ………………….

  • Nazerine

    “Jonathan govt. issued multi billion naira rice import quotas last day in office”
    Another Nollywood movie from APC and Presidency for your enjoyment while you wait for the “Change”

  • 9JA IS DYING DEAD UNDER BUHARI

    UK Financial Times Calls ‘Buharinomics’ the Height of Foolishness,

    Leading international business publication, The Financial Times UK has described the economic policies of the Buhari administration as the ‘height of foolishness’.
    Steve Johnson, Deputy editor of the FT’s EM Squared section wrote
    “Copying Venezuela’s exchange rate policy and China’s failed equity market strategy might seen the height of foolishness.
    “Low oil prices are battering Nigeria’s export-dependent economy, but it’s the government’s market-distorting response that risks pushing the country into a Venezuela-style crisis,” Mr Ashbourne says.

    • excel

      Your mental disorder is getting worst. You can’t be cure from this.

  • eddy

    Nigerians need to see people go to jail!!!

  • “How Jonathan govt. issued multi billion naira rice import quotas last day in office”

    Another Buhari’s B.S. for the gullible.
    Next…

  • excel

    This can not come as a surprise. Everything under jonathan was a fraud. Which lead to the economy crisis we are witnessing now.

  • TrueNja

    This is what happened when you have a drunkard as president