Following the ban on importation of rice by the federal Government, the House of Representatives yesterday called for urgent implementation of the agreement with relevant stakeholders last year.
The House also mandated its committee on customs to summon all relevant stakeholders in order to fashion out a way forward on the rice transformation agenda.
Rep Nasiru Baballe Ila (APC, Kano), in a motion he moved on the floor of the House observed that the Federal Government increased duty on rice importation from 50% to 100% in 2013 to further stimulate local farming and subsequently local production.
He noted that “the good intention of the Federal Government has been sabotaged by unquantifiable smuggling at a rate never witnessed in the past,” saying Nigeria lost over N300 billion from sharp practices on the matter.
He regretted that “over three million tons of parboiled rice was smuggled into Nigeria in 2013 through Benin Republic. This culminated in that country gaining over N200 billion in dutiable levy.”
According to him, following the November 2013 meeting between the government and stakeholders on rice, the committee observed the fall in rice prices internationally from $600 to $350 and recommended that Nigeria should bring its own down to $190 per metric ton. However, the government was yet to implement it.