FG to Review Rice Tariff

The Chairman, Presidential Committee on Trade Malpractice, Alhaji Dahiru Ado-Kurawa, said on Tuesday that the Federal Government would soon review tariff on rice, to tackle smuggling and revenue loss.

According to the chairman, the planned downward review was aimed at reducing the level of smuggling of the commodity from Benin Republic.

He observed that the Federal Government introduced the rice policy of 110 percent duty and levy in January, to boost local rice production.

“The Federal Government will likely adjust the policy because it has escalated the influx of smuggled rice from neighboring countries.

“Benin Republic is one of the highest importers of parboiled rice, the country that ordinarily imports about 230,000 tonnes per annum.

“The two-million-tonne parboiled rice imported by Benin is all smuggled into Nigeria,” the chairman said.

He recalled that the stakeholders met recently in Abuja and advised the Federal Government to review the rice policy and sift out the grey areas.

This, he said, was to ensure that the government’s quest to halt rice import was achieved.

Ado-Kurawa lamented that Nigeria lost over N2 billion to smugglers through land borders .

According to him, Nigeria that used to be the highest rice importer, had suddenly relinquished the position to Benin Republic.

He explained that the review was not a policy somersault, but an approach to create a healthy mechanism for Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice production and earn income from imported rice.

The chairman said that the government would also give incentives to rice millers to key into the backward integration programme.

According to him, government’s policy on rice has greatly deepened local production of the commodity.

“The policy is geared towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice product,” he said.

Ado-Kurawa noted that local milling capacity had risen by about 200 per cent.

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