The comptroller-general of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has ordered the immediate removal of rice from import restriction list and the re-introduction of import duty payment at land borders.
The public relations officer of Customs, Mr Wale Adeniyi, who made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said that the restriction was only applied at land border stations before now, adding that the customs boss had lifted restriction on rice at border stations.
He said that all rice imports through land borders by rice traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10 percent, with 60 percent levy. Rice millers (preferential levy) with valid quota allocation would also attract duty rate of 10 percent with 20 percent levy on rice importation.
“Over the years, importation has been restricted to the seaports because border authorities have found it difficult to effectively monitor and control importation of rice.
“When the decision to ban it (rice) was taken, it was not an effective measure because the smuggling of the product thrives with people using different means of conveyance, including small trucks, bicycles and even animals – putting them on donkeys and some actually carry it on their heads.
“These new measures will be for Customs to recognise their anti-smuggling operations in the border areas and ensure that all those importers through the borders bring their rice through approved routes and pay their extant duty
“Before the ban on rice importation, Customs had placed different rates of levy on rice imports – 30 percent levy was placed on rice millers (preferential levy) and 70 per cent for rice importers. The purpose was to encourage local production.