The Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not issued any Form ‘M’ for importation of rice in the last two years, so says the outgoing Customs Area Controller in charge of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, Comptroller Muhammed Uba Garba.
The Controller said this recently in Ikeja, Lago, even as he added that the local rice factories in states like Kebbi and Kano have improved significantly in the quantity of their daily production, thereby reducing importation of the commodity into the country.
He also said that the government has totally banned the importation of rice both through the land or sea ports as no ‘Form M’ has been issued for the importation of rice for about two years now.
He explained that the idea is to make the country self-sufficient in terms of rice production.
“You are aware that importation of rice through the land border has been banned, even through the ports, over a year ago no Form M has been given to any importer to bring in rice”, he explained.
According to him, “the reason is that our government wants Nigeria to self-sufficient in terms of rice production. You are aware that Thailand, Vietnam are the major exporters of rice in the world, they don’t eat parboiled rice; they only eat white rice”
“In the same manner, Benin Republic don’t eat parboiled rice, the essence of banning rice is for the country to be self-sufficient in rice production and to preserve foreign exchange”.
If Nigerians are engaged in cultivation, through cultivation the processing, storing, packaging, sales and distribution will be in place and all these processes will be done by human beings, giving way for employment”
“Now this shortage in the importation of rice has now been covered by local rice production such as, Labana in Kebbi state where 320Metric tones are produced daily, Onza in Kano state where over 100 trucks are being produced daily”.
He also said that the federal government has policies like free importation of fertilizers aimed at encouraging local farmers.