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Recent investigations have revealed that thousands of bags of rice worth over several thousands of naira are smuggled into the country on a regular basis through rivers linking Nigeria with Benin Republic.
According to RIDAN, this trend was jeorpadising efforts to boost local production of the product, and also harming the business of genuine importers.
Although Nigerian consumes about 5.5 million tonnes of rice annually, it only produces about 3.5 million tonnes and some importers have been capitalising on this to frustrate genuine efforts aimed at boosting local farming of the product.
According to RiDAN, if the flank through which this product is smuggled is closed, it would act as a big incentive for the local farmers to produce more and subsequently meet the local demand.
Vice President of the Association, Mr Boniface Nwodo, said that the duty per tonne of rice imported into the country had increased from 227 dollars to 367 dollars or about N58, 000 currently, adding that the increase would likely trigger increased smuggling of rice.
According to Nwodo, the smugglers had deviced other means of bringing rice with canoes due to the ban on importation of rice though the nation’s land borders.
It will be recalled that recently, the Federal Government increased the duty on imported rice from 20 per cent to 40 per cent but some stakeholders say that a computation of this with other charges like ETLS of 0.5 per cent and FOB of one per cent brought the total duty and levies from 32.5 per cent to 50.5 per cent.Share