The Nigerian Customs Service has lifted its ban on rice imports.
A statement released by the Customs Comptroller-General confirmed the development.
Customs Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has ordered the immediate removal of rice from the import restriction list.
Consequently, importers of the commodity will now have to pay an import duty at land borders wherever they choose to route through.
This was made known by the Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wale Adeniyi in an interview in Abuja.
Mr. Adeniyi disclosed that before now, the restriction was only applied at land border stations.
He further stated that the customs boss had lifted the restriction on rice imports at border stations.
Adeniyi said that all rice imports through land borders by rice traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10% with 60% levy.
Customs Lifts Ban On Rice Imports
He also stated that rice millers (preferential levy) with valid quota allocation would also attract duty rate of 10% with 20% levy on rice importation.
Speaking to newsmen, Mr. Adeniyi said:
“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 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 re-organise 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.”
Meanwhile, as a result of the earlier ban, market prices of rice skyrocketed from an average N9,000 to N23,000 per bag.