The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has seized 497,279 bags of imported rice between 2015 and August, 2017 with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.8 billion.
The Comptroller-General of the service, retired Col. Hameed Ali, revealed this in a document obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday.
“From January to March this year, about four enterprises registered with Tinapa Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Calabar in Cross River State syndicated the importation of 533 containers of rice.”
“Certainly, this rice cannot be consumed within Tinapa and there is no value added through further processing as to bring it to Nigerian territory.
“It took the Nigeria Customs Service a big battle with the importers and Tinapa authorities to compel them to re-export it out of Nigeria.
“As at Sept. 19, this year, 299 containers were re-exported.
“If this is to be allowed, it has the potential of undermining the food security policy of the Federal Government.
“With the attendant consequence of driving all the industries in the chain of production out of business, primarily the local farmers and rice millers,” Ali said.
“The ban of rice importation through the land borders has made the task of fighting smuggling by the NCS more challenging.
“Because major rice importers in the country have decided to shun the use of Nigerian ports and now divert their cargo to Cotonou where they bring it into Nigeria in trickles,” he said.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate