The outgone Customs Area Controller of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, Comptroller Uba Garba Mohammed has said that no rice has been imported into the country through the nation’s seaport over a year ago.
Comptroller Mohammed who made this disclosure during a press briefing in Lagos recently recalled that there was a federal government policy banning importation of rice through the land borders across the nation.
While pointing out that importation of rice through the seaports was not banned, he however stated that no Form M had been issued for the importation of rice by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over one year ago.
According to him,” You are all aware of the federal government’s policy on the importation of rice through the land borders which has since been banned by the federal government, even through the ports. Over a year or so, no Form M has been given to any importer to bring rice. The reason is that our government wants Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice production.
“The essence of banning rice like I told you is to enable Nigeria to be self-sufficient, food security, to preserve our foreign exchange and through cultivation. If Nigerians are engaged in productive cultivation, the processing, the packaging, storage, sell and distribution will be in place and all these processes and strategies will be done by human beings, making way for employment.
“You are aware that Thailand and Vietnam are the major exporters of rice in the world, they don’t eat parboiled rice, when they eat, they will eat only white rice. In the same manner, Benin Republic don’t eat parboiled rice, when they eat, they eat white rice.
” Now, this shortage in the importation of rice is now being covered by local rice production such as Labana in Kebbi state where 320 metric tonnes are being produced daily, like Onza in Kano state where over 100 metric tonnes are being produced daily, so these are trying to cover the gap in the production of rice.
“That is why we have to rally round the federal government to make sure that we support the Rice Farmers’ Association. That is why the importation of fertilizer is free, also importation of machineries. This is a way to boost agricultural production for our industrialization”.
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