‘Rice imports remain banned through land borders’

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has not reversed the ban on rice importations through land borders.
    In a statement on Saturday, NCS Public Relations Officer (PRO), Wale Adeniyi also denied granting press interview to that effect.
  Adeniyi said: “Our attention has been drawn to publications on various online platforms indicating that the Nigeria Customs Service has reversed the ban on Rice importation through the land borders.
“These reports were  attributed to a press interview purportedly granted by the Service  Public Relations Officer, Deputy-Comptroller Wale Adeniyi.
 “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.
 “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. We urge Nigerians to watch out for similar antics as the firm stand on Rice smuggling will pitch their selfish interest against our national interest”.