In a bid to curtail the activities of foreign rice smuggling, the Federal government says it will shut down the border it shares with a neighbouring country in a few days’ time.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said this while speaking at an event organised by the Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI).
He said the move would lead to a development of local rice production and inadvertently reduce the cost of rice in the country.
“Our other problem is smuggling. As we speak, a neighbor of ours is importing more rice than China is importing. I am telling you now because in a few days, you will hear the border has been shut, we are going to shut it to protect you, us and protect our economy.” Ogbeh said.
In his remarks, President of GOTNI, Dr. Linus Okorie, appreciated the minister for being a part of the programme which was channeled at raising impactful leaders for tomorrow.
“If Nigeria must make progress, if we must consciously build the next generation of leaders then, we must expose these young people to experienced leaders that have gone ahead for a conscious transfer of knowledge and experiences”. He said.
It would be recalled that AgroNigeria CEO, Mr Richard Mbaram earlier stated this year during a 2-day High-Level Rice Conference held in April in Abuja; ”that Nigeria needs to get drastic in her measure against economic sabotage by her neighbouring countries”.
In a communiqué reached at the conference, it was unanimously agreed “that the government must adopt stricter measures towards tackling the menaces of smuggling which hinders the viability of local rice business.”
“The Federal government should adequately fund and empower the Nigeria Customs Service to enable the Agency undertake patrol of over 1000 border entry points and several smuggling routes into the country.” The Communiqué reads.
However, the communiqué stressed on the “conscious effort to upgrade the nation’s grain storage infrastructure to accommodate rice paddy with a view to attaining price stabilization for rice.”
“There should be deliberate emphasis on research and technological adaptation to suit the local production realities obtainable in Nigeria. More focus should be placed on de-building as well as local production of equipment.” It added.
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