Customs bans importation of rice through land borders

By The Citizen
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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has re-introduced the restriction order on importation of rice through land borders across the country.

A statement issued yesterday by the NCS Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi, explained that the Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), gave the approval for the reversal of the October 2015 policy which allowed rice imports through the land borders, once appropriate duty and charges were paid.

According to Adeniyi, at a review session held with comptrollers of border commands and Federal Operation Units (FOU) held in Abuja, the Service noted that dwindling revenue from rice imports through the land borders do not match the volume of rice landed in neighboring ports.

The statement explained that rather, 'reports from border commands indicated an upsurge in the tempo of rice smuggling'.

Adeniyi said: '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 impediment. During the five-month period when the importation was allowed, October 2015-March 17th 2016, a total of

24.992 metric tonnes of rice valued at N 2, 335,131,093 were imported through the land borders.

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During the period, total revenue generated amounted to N1,685,112,810.'This is considerably lower than the revenue projected to be generated with the removal of import restrictions,' Adeniyi said.

According to him, an upsurge in the number of the seizures has been reported across the land borders since January 2016, noting that in the first two months of 2016, a total of 9238 bags were seized, with duty paid value of N64,666,000. The Guardian