The Nigeria Customs Service has reiterated its position that importation of Rice remains banned through Land Borders.
It said it became necessary to restate its position after publications on various online platforms indicating that the Nigeria Customs Service has reversed the ban on Rice importation through the land borders.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr Wale Adeniyi said “these reports were attributed to a press interview purportedly granted by the Service Public Relations Officer, Deputy-Comptroller Wale Adeniyi”.
“It is even more expedient to provide this clarification given that the fact that the Service has taken a firm position earlier in the week through a joint press conference with stakeholders.”
The Customs Service stated that with the commitment of Partner Government Agencies and Stakeholders, the restriction would be enforced.
“While this restriction is in force, Rice imports through the Ports are still allowed subject to payment of extant charges.
It is equally important to restate the confidence of the Nigeria Customs Service in the ability of Nigerian Rice Producers to fill the existing sufficiency gaps in the supply of the product”.
The Service noted with satisfaction the ongoing Rice Revolution undertaken by many State Governments, and Strategic Interventions by Federal Government Agencies. “The Service is convinced that the bumper harvests expected from these efforts will address the supply gap in 2017”.
It stated that continuous waste of scarce forex on a commodity that can be produced locally makes no economic sense, most especially at a period of recession and advocated a total ban on Rice Importation into Nigeria with effect from 2017.
“It is worrisome that the publications that resurfaced this weekend were being attributed to a Press interview granted in October 2015. We strongly suspect that some powerful forces behind Rice Smuggling are at work, recycling an old report under a different circumstance to create confusion”.
The Service urged Nigerians beware of similar antics as the firm stand on Rice smuggling will pitch their selfish interest against our national interest.