Customs orders removal of rice from import restriction list
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), retired colonel Hameed Ali, has ordered the immediate removal of rice from the import restriction list and the re-introduction of import duty payment at land borders.
The NCS Public Relations Officer, Mr Wale Adeniyi, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja.
Mr Adeniyi said that before now, the restriction was applied only at land border stations but that the Customs boss had lifted the restriction on rice at the stations.
Adeniyi explained that all rice imports through land borders by rice traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10 per cent, with a 60 per cent levy.
He added that rice millers (preferential levy) with a valid quota allocation, would also attract a duty rate of 10 per cent with a 20 per cent 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 rice was taken, it was not an effective measure because smuggling of the product thrives with people using different means of conveyance, including small trucks, bicycles and even animals, putting them on donkeys, while some actually carry it on their heads.
“These new measures will be for the Customs to reorganise 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,” he said.
NAN recalls that before the ban on rice importation, the Customs had placed different rates of levy on rice imports. While a preferential 30 per cent levy was placed on rice millers, rice importers got 70 per cent.
The essence of the different rates of levy was to encourage local production. (NAN)