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Customs ban rice importation through land borders

By on March 24, 2016

The Nigeria Customs Service has re-imposed the restriction order on the importation of rice through land borders across the country with immediate effect.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd) had last October approved the reversal of an earlier policy banning rice imports through the land borders, saying once the appropriate duty and charges had been paid, importers were free to bring in the produce.

A statement on Tuesday by the Public Relations Officer, NIS, Wale Adeniyi, said the Service had noted that dwindling revenue from rice imports through the land borders did not match the volume of the produce landing in neighbouring ports.

Rather, reports from the border commands, according to him, indicate an upsurge in the tempo of rice smuggling.

Ali was quoted as saying, “The implementation of the restriction order got off to a smooth start, with a high level of compliance in October 2015. However, revenue started dwindling from January 2016, with importers blaming access to forex as major impediments.

“During the five-month period when the importation was allowed (October 2015 to March 17, 2016), a total of 24.992 metric tonnes of rice valued at N2.33bn was imported through the land borders.”

He said the total revenue generated amounted to N1.68bn, considerably lower than the revenue projected to be generated with the removal of import restrictions.