26 June 2016
A freight forwarder, Tajudeen Adetayo, has urged the Federal Government to reverse its policy banning rice importation through land borders and suggested that government should instead impose duty payment and generate additional revenue.
The Nigeria Customs Service lifted the ban on rice importation through land borders in October 2015, but reversed the policy in March 2016 because of heightened smuggling.
Adetayo recalled that the Ogun State Command of the Customs Service generated more than N1 billion within the short period that the ban on rice importation through land borders was lifted.
He stressed that smuggling would continue to thrive for as long as government restricted rice importation through land borders.
“Banning rice imports is not a good omen. When Nigeria has sufficient food, then importation of rice can be banned,’’ he said.
Adetayo also noted that activities at the border posts were low because of the high rate of foreign currency exchange and the ban on rice importation through land borders which, he said, had led to increased smuggling.
He also called on the Nigeria Police Force to dismantle the 30 road blocks between Idiroko, Ajilete and Ilase, all in Ogun State which had become major hindrance to trade, adding that a journey of one or two hours, might take five hours on the route.
“We travel to Benin Republic and Togo and all you find is three to four checkpoints; on roads leading to Nigeria’s border posts, the Police, Customs, everybody is at the checkpoints.
“Customs officers have the right to be at the road blocks, but the Police should not be there,’’ he stressed.
The freight forwarder, however, commended the police for a job well-done in terms of security around Idiroko, a community at the border between Nigeria and Benin Republic to the southwest.