Former LCCI chief hails customs decision to re-introduce ban on rice importation through land borders

Immediate past President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Remi Bello has hailed the recent decision of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to reintroduce the ban on importation of rice through the land borders describing it as a welcome development.

Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, Bello said the move would further encourage local production of rice thereby boosting the nation’s economy through farming.

While criticising NCS for reversing the earlier ban placed on the commodity last year, Bello said, “With the kind of investment our people have made to rice production, there shouldn’t be any need for us to relax it in the first place and allow imported rice to come in through the land borders.

“In all ramifications, it is not the best thing to have happened then but if it is now happening, I believe it is going to help our farmers.

“It is a welcome development.  So it should be encouraged.”

He noted that while the country is not self -sufficient in rice production, with special focus on the agricultural sector, the country will be the better for it at the long run.

“Necessity is the mother of invention. If we continue this way that we have not gotten enough in terms of self-sufficiency, when are we going to get enough if we don’t put it into practice?” he quizzed.

On whether the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy restricting foreign currency supply to importers of rice will not be a set back to the reintroduction of the ban, as importers will now be expected to import the commodity only through the seaport, Bello said “the objective of the CBN restriction is to encourage local production. Even in LCCI we are not canvassing that rice should be included in the items that should have access to foreign exchange, the items we are agitating for are those item that are raw materials.”

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