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Customs: Rice smuggling our biggest nightmare, frustration

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Customs: Rice smuggling our biggest nightmare, frustration

Nigerian Customs Service said it has identified the unabated rice smuggling in the country as the biggest challenge threatening its operational competence. Controller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, who disclosed this, stated that the growing concerns of the Service is not just the continued loss of revenues for local rice producers, but the health implication of eating the unhealthy smuggled rice.

 

Ali, who spoke in Abuja when the Federal Ministry of Finance held a world Press conference, noted that though, rice smuggling has not overwhelmed the Customs but its dimension was becoming too frustrating for his men.

 

“Rice smuggling is the biggest challenge we have in Nigerian Customs today. And this happens because Nigerians also consume this rice. Rice smuggling is an issue that we have been trying to address and that is why we recreated and enlarged our task force to fight rice smuggling”, he said.

 

While he insisted that the Customs have not issued any licence to anybody to import rice into the country, he affirmed that any rice found in Nigerian market that is not locally  produced was smuggled. He went further to express fears that Nigerians have continued ignorantly to pay for their untimely death, as the smuggled rice is ” very dangerous and poisonous ” for consumption.

 

He said:” We have not issued any licence for importation of rice. Any rice you see in the streets in Nigeria that is not produced here is smuggled. And the smugglers are succeeding with the assistance of our people. If we stop buying smuggled rice, certainly the smugglers will go out of business “.

 

Ali also expressed frustration that the service has done everything to educate Nigerians on the inherent dangers associated with foreign smuggled rice, and possibly discourage them from consuming it, but have not succeeded. According to him, the Customs has made some progress by arresting and prosecuting some of the ” big smugglers “.

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