From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Social Integrity Network, (SINET) has alerted the Federal Government that many local rice factories will soon become moribund thereby subjecting the nation’s industrial drive to hardship because of smuggling.
The Group stated this in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mallam Ibrahim Issah, and made available to the media in Kaduna yesterday.
The also noted that, many banks may also be affected.
The Group noted with concern that, attempt by some groups to mount undue pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to re-open the Nigerian border will cause the collapse of the nation’s industries, especially the rice factories.
It said calls for re-opening of the border does not reflect the overall interest of Nigerian populace, stressing that the move was sponsored by for few individuals who are economic saboteurs.
“While the nation is counting the numerous gains of border closure especially in the areas of economic recovery, revenue generation and reduction of insurgency, it is saddened that some unpatriotic fellows want the policy reversed.
“SINET was shocked and disappointed with a news report credited to the Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadiri, describing the border closure policy as unsustainable, even though, he understands that influx of foreign made products will definitely affect local manufacturers.
“It is pertinent to note that with the border closure, many industries have commenced operations thereby providing more jobs for Nigerians while the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) has invested heavily on local manufacturers by providing them with loans.
“Unfortunately, with the huge efforts made by Rice Farmers as well as Rice Millers towards ensuring that the nation remain self-sufficient in the rice production, it is surprising to note that foreign rice are already getting the ways back into the country.”
The Group further maintained that the effect of such unwholesome moves by some cartel will have negative impact on the nation’s economic drive stressing that the Nigeria Customs Service and the Central Bank of Nigeria recently rolled out the numerous economic gains of border closure while influx of arms and ammunitions has reduced drastically. We still need to extend the border closure policy because Nigeria’s economy is not ready distraction.
“Our fear is that if the smuggling of foreign rice is left unchecked, many rice mills will soon collapse while investors would be declared bankrupt, thereby opening another episode of financial distress on banks that have provide them with loan facilities for business operations and expansion.”
The Group, however, advised the federal government to engage the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC) in the taskforce operation of checking warehouses found with foreign rice and impose stringent sanctions on culprits in the collective interest of Nigerians.