110% rice duty: Reps summon Okonjo-Iweala, Adesina

Concerned about the loss of revenue to the federation due to the 110 per cent duty slammed on imported rice by the federal government, the House of Representatives committee on Customs has invited the minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga and the minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina to appear before it.

Making this known on Monday, chairman of the committee, Hon Sabo Mohammed Na kudu said the committee will hear the positions of the ministers in a public hearing which will be organised for that purpose.

The lawmaker explained that the public hearing was sequel to a House resolution on the matter following the adoption of the prayers of a motion moved by Hon Nasiru Baballe Ila on February 19 this year.

On what they hope to achieve through the public hearing, the lawmaker said they hope to be able to ascertain the level of the rice importation policy “which has caused ripples in the country and indeed cause a high loss to the government revenue.”

According to him, the committee has already started requesting for memoranda and has written letters to the three ministers and other stakeholders, calling for position papers and notifying them of the development.

The policy which was introduced last year by the federal government bans any form of rice importation into the country to encourage local production. However, smugglers have capitalised on the policy to illegal import rice into Nigeria leading to a loss of over N300 billion at the end of 2013.