Review rice importation policy, maritime expert urges Nigerian government

Bags of rice
Bags of rice

The Federal Government wants to discourage rice importation.

The spokesperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN) on Friday urged the Federal Government to review the policy on rice importation in the interest of the nation’s economy.

Mr. Akinola made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He said that Nigeria was losing an average of N1billion daily to the subsisting policy on rice importation and the attendant high level smuggling of the commodity into the country.

“Before January 2013, rice importers paid a 60 per cent duty, but when it was increased to 110 per cent, importers shun Nigerian ports for neighbouring countries.

“No rice vessel has berthed at any port in Nigeria in close to a year now. What that means is that government is losing revenue that the Customs should have collected.

“The vessels just go to neigbouring ports where they will pay far less duty and the smugglers end up bringing the same rice into the country illegally,” he said.

He said that the policy has affected the revenue of the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service from rice import.

Mr. Akinola said the Command had so far collected only N11 million as duty on rice as against what it used to be.

“The Area Controller of Apapa Customs said that rice was the highest revenue-earner for them, but this year, the Command collected only N11 million as import duty on rice.

“In 2012 and 2011 about N138 billion and N135 billion respectively was collected as revenue on rice importation. You can see the monumental loss to the Nigerian government,” Mr. Akinola said.

Mr. Akinola said it was evident that the plan to develop the local production of rice still needed time because during this yuletide Nigerians ate imported rice and not locally-produced ones.

“During this celebration period people ate the same imported rice, not the one grown in Abakaliki or Ofada,” he said.

The Federal Government wants to make Nigeria self sufficient in rice production and has thus put in place policies to discourage importation. Statistics from the Agriculture Ministry indicate that Nigeria currently produces about half of the amount of rice consumed annually in the country.

(NAN)

Advertisement

RIPAN Campaign AD

Akwa Ibom advertD

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.