The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has denied reports in some online media that the ban on rice importation through the land borders has been reversed.
A statement issued by Wale Adeniyi, Deputy Comptroller and Spokesman of the Service, said it became necessary to restate its position on the issue in view of the confusion the reports may create among stakeholders.
The statement read: “It has become necessary to re-state the true position in view of the confusion which these online publications may create in the industry. 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.
“First, we like to reiterate the position that importation of Rice remains banned through our Land Borders, and we have the commitment of Partner Government Agencies and Stakeholders to enforce this restriction. 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 has 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 is our belief 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. The Service will therefore advocate a total Ban on Rice Importation into Nigeria with effect from 2017.”
The Service urged stakeholders and Nigerians to disregard contrary information on the matter, adding that it suspected that the rice smuggling cartel was behind the circulation of the false reports.