Wale Adeniyi, the public relations officer of customs, told NAN on Wednesday in Abuja that the restriction was only applied at land border stations before now. Hameed Ali, the comptroller-general of customs, has now ordered the immediate removal of rice from import restriction list and the re-introduction of import duty payment at land borders.
Adeniyi said that all rice imports through land borders by traders would attract the prevailing import duty of 10 per cent with 60 per cent levy. He added that rice millers (preferential levy) with valid quota allocation would also attract duty rate of 10 per cent with 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,” he said. “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.”
Before the ban on rice importation, customs had placed different rate of levy on rice imports, with 30 per cent levy placed on rice millers (preferential levy) and 70 per cent for rice importers – to encourage local production.