Customs To Enforce Ban On Rice Importation Through Land
BEVERLY HILLS, March 22, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced its readiness to re-introduce the restriction order on importation of rice through land borders, which was reversed in October 2015, by Hameed Ali, Comptroller-General of Customs.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by Wale Adeniyi, Public Relations Officer, NCS, who revealed that the dwindling revenue from rice imports through the land borders does not match the volume of rice that berthed at the ports of neighbouring countries, which indicates an increase in the success of rice smuggling into the country.
Adeniyi disclosed that the implementation of the restriction order got off to a smooth start, with a high level of compliance in October 2015 but experienced dwindling revenue from January 2016 with suggestions that a lack of access to forex was responsible for the lack of imports.
“During the five-month period when the importation was allowed through the land border that was from October 2015 to March 17 2016, a total of 24.992 metric tons of rice valued at N2.3 billion was imported through the land borders,” Adeniyi said.
“Also, a total revenue of N1.7 billion was generated from the imports, which was considerably lower than the revenue projected to be generated with the removal of import restrictions.
“In the first two months of the 2016, a total of 9,238 bags were seized, with duty paid value of N65 million, was made by the Customs anti-smuggling patrol teams of the Federal Operations and Border Commands.”
Thus, he issued a directive for zero-tolerance to rice imports through the land borders, irrespective of volume with immediate adding that importers who have started import processes would be given an allowance till Friday, March 25, 2016 to clear their consignments.
He observed that the Comptroller-General is of the opinion that his officers and men couldn't be totally exonerated from the abuse associated with the implementation of the order on rice, as his office had been inundated with reports of collusion between Customs' men and rice importers.
“As a result, he directed investigation into the reports, insisting that indicted personnel will be sanctioned,” Adeniyi declared.
Story by David Oputah