Nigeria: Puzzling Delay in Releasing Chinese Rice Donation to IDPs

10.05.2018

WE are at a loss as to why it is taking the relevant government agencies more than six months to secure the release from the ports of a consignment of rice donated by the Chinese government for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

We are even more puzzled that, according to Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja (the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA) the Agency paid a whopping N400 million in demurrage to clear the said rice valued at N414 million. Maihaja is also under the House Committee's radar for allegedly awarding N1.6 billion contracts to non-existing companies.

Also confounding is the claim that the N400 million excludes the cost of transporting the rice from the ports to the warehouses of the Agency. This is apart from claims that about half of the goods are still at the ports accumulating more demurrage.

With tongues already wagging over the possibility of a shady deal, NEMA and other agencies have been taken to task to explain their respective roles in this baffling transaction before the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. The Committee accused NEMA of handling the China rice donations inefficiently, leading to unnecessary expenditure of taxpayers' money.

The lawmakers particularly raised issues in respect of documents submitted to the Committee by the Federal Ministry of Finance dated July 20, 2017, which indicated that the total quantity of the rice is 6,779 metric tonnes valued at N414.8 million while the Federal Ministry of Agriculture paid another N272.5 million as duty.


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