By Patience Danjuma
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Nigeria will no longer permit smuggling from neighbouring countries.
Speaking at the 6th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for Private sector stakeholders at the old banquet hall, state house, Abuja on Monday, Osinbajo said smuggling was a serious threat to the Nigerian economy.
He said, “Mr. President has asked me to head a team to work out what needs to be done. We are making the point to our neighbours that smuggling is an existential threat, we can’t permit the level of smuggling going on.
“Last year, there was over 500,000 metric tonnes of rice around Christmas, which the Minister of Agriculture told us about and how it came in through one of our neighbours, but we blocked it.
“Now, three shiploads of rice have left Thailand, 120,000 metric tonnes, going to this same neighbour of ours who have very large warehouses where they store this rice.
“It is very clear that this rice is for us because our neighbours don’t consume parboiled rice, they consume the white broken rice. It is clear that our neighbours do excellent business with allowing rice to come into Nigeria and other products including poultry.
“I think it is important for us as a country to make the point clear: that we are not going to accept that. We are all within the same economic zone and work together, so we go in a friendly and polite manner as possible, to ensure that this practice stops”
Osinbajo also attributed the gridlock in Apapa to high volume of cargo handled at the Lagos ports.
“The port is meant to be a 34 million metric tonnes capacity port. Now it is doing 80million metric tonnes, so it is obviously a port far too small for the size of business it is doing,” he added.
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