I am in support of review in as much as our local manufacturers cannot produce the rice that will satisfy our local consumption. So there is need for us to also continue with import. The only thing that government need to do is that the revenue collected on imported rice should be channelled into a pool of resources where people who are into rice farming can access it in soft loan or zero percent interest rate so that they can be more productive to enhance local production and be more competitive.
It is a total mess. It is a bad policy and it was not done in good fate. That policy should be totally reviewed for the interest of the masses. The levy they have collected so far, how much is it and where is it? It should be practically reviewed and any policy that they will be put in place should be internationally acceptable. I don’t think other country is practicing what is being practiced here in Nigeria. 20 percent duty and no levy should be the ideal for rice. Government cannot encourage local manufacturers by crippling the industry. The government has only crippled the economy with that policy because the rice is now coming into the country through the unapproved route. Nigeria would have generated more revenue if the rice is imported properly.
There is a lot of corruption with the rice policy and thank God, the whole thing is coming to light. From all indication, the policy is not working and it is against the interest of Nigerians. For me, the whole policy needs to be abolished completely. Despite the fact that they increase the tariff most of the rice still find their way into the country through Cotonue. While the citizens are suffering, the government is also loosing. The revenue that is supposed to be generated from rice importation is now going to other neighbouring countries. The policy is not working it should be completely reviewed.
Nigeria is a populous nation and staple food like rice is of essence. The supply we have now as a result of the policy cannot cater for the populace and rather than review it, the federal government has continued to fold its arms and watch while people smuggled in the product. The right thing has to be done before the government can talk of rice policy which is sufficiency and availability and where this is not done, the rice policy cannot work then there is need for its reversal.
Aare Sanni Shittu
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