Nigeria to Ban Rice Importation in 2017

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Yari

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The federal government plans to ban rice importation in the Nigeria by 2017 to encourage local production

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Oct 26, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

ONE week after the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, ordered the immediate removal of rice from import restriction list and the re-introduction of import duty payment at land borders, the federal government says it plans to stop the importation of rice in 2017. The government stated that the policy would not be enforced until it has developed local industries to produce maximally for local consumption.

Abdulaziz Yari, Zamfara State governor and chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, stated this on Wednesday, October 14, after a joint meeting with Yemi Osinbajo, vice president, Godwin Emefiele, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and permanent secretaries of federal ministries at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Governor Yari stated that with the emerging political will power of the present government and the availability of arable land, Nigeria could sustain itself with rice production. He regretted that so much money had gone into rice importation, which he said, could be produced locally. “The meeting was on the new policy on agriculture and food sustainability. We discussed how we can boost rice production in Nigeria and start thinking about how we are going to put policy in place on how rice importation will be banned in the country.

“We have the potential. We have the human resources. We have the arable land to grow rice. In the next two years, we will not need to bring rice from outside Nigeria. We are going to ban it. It is only in Nigeria, a country of millions of people, that there is no food security. We discussed the policy with the relevant permanent secretaries and CBN governor.

“The policy is going to be in place and we gave our commitment that we are ready to support the government policy in ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in food production in the next two years. Nigeria is currently a major importer of rice. Now, the political will is in place to stop it. We in about nine states are going to be seriously engaged in massive rice production. We are hoping that in the next two years, rice importation into Nigeria will be banned. We are committed and the political will is in place,” he said.

The NCS had on Wednesday, October 7, said the restriction was only applied at land border stations before now, adding that the customs boss had lifted restriction on rice at border stations. Wale Adeniyi, public relations officer, Customs, said all rice imports through land borders by rice traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10 percent with 60 percent levy. He added that rice millers (preferential levy) with valid quota allocation would also attract duty rate of 10 percent with 20 percent levy on rice importation.

He said: “Over the years, importation has been restricted to the seaports because border authorities have found it difficult to effectively monitor and control importation of rice. When the decision to ban it (rice) was taken it was not an effective measure because smuggling of the product thrives with people using different means of conveyance including small trucks, bicycles and even animals – putting them on donkeys and some actually carry it on their heads. These new measures will be for customs to reorganise their anti-smuggling operations in the border areas and ensure that all those importers through the borders bring their rice through approved routes and pay their extant duty.”

 Before the ban on rice importation, Customs had placed different rate of levy on rice imports. Thirty percent levy was placed on rice millers (preferential levy) and 70 percent for rice importers. The essence of the different rates of levy was to encourage local production.

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