Nigeria’s rice imports drop to N480.6bn

01.06.2018

There is an indication that Nigeria will still import three million tons of rice valued at (N480.6 billion) $1.33 billion this year in order to meet its total domestic consumption of 6.90 million metric tons. Imports is projected to drop to 800,000 tons in 2018, but the spate of smuggling has made domestic production to remain static at 3.78 million tons since 2016 as global price stayed at $445 per ton in May, 2018, because of the influx of foreign parboiled rice.

The country spends N1.10 trillion ($3.07 billion) yearly on the importation of the commodity apart from illegal rice being smuggled through the neighbouring country of Benin.

Meanwhile, etween February and May, 2018, New Telegraph gathered that the antismuggling unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)’s Federal Operation Unit, Zone A in Lagos seized 27,120 bags of rice valued at N394.26 million. In February this year, 8,400 bags of 50 kilogrammes; March, 7,201 bags of 50 kilogrammes; April, 6,003 bags of 50 kilogrammes and May, 5,516 bags of 50 kilogrammes. With the country’s latest production record, annual imports have been reduced drastically from 4.5 million tons to three million tons, but remained stagnant since 2016.

The country attained 3.7 million tons of milled rice in December 2017 from the 2.6 million recorded in 2015, making it among the sixteen top producers of rice in the world According to an Index Mundi, a global data portal that gathers facts and statistics, the country’s rice production went up by 24.49 per cent within the last four years, making the country to become the second producer of the grain in Africa after Egypt, which currently produces 4.3 million tons.

It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s anchor borrower scheme has boosted the country’s production records in the last two years, when it stopped issuing form M or letter of credit to rice importers in 2015 in order to encourage local production.

In 2016, CBN further complained that the amount spent on rice importation between January, 2012 and May, 2015 had resulted in huge unsold stock of paddy rice cultivated by Nigerian farmers and low operating capacities of many integrated rice mills in the country.

The Controller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)’s Federal Operation Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, who was worried on the volume of rice coming illegally into the country through the Republic of Benin, explained that the rice imported legally through the ports had been ordered based on contractual agreement between importers and the sellers before the CBN em-bargo on Form M.

The controller said that Federal Government was serious about rice production in the country. He said: “If you see any rice at the port, it must be a contractual agreement spanning two years by the importers and the sellers. In the last two years, CBN has never issued form M or letter of credit to rice importers.”

It would be recalled that the Secretary of Rice Millers, Importers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (RIMIDAN) Shaibu Mohammed, has entertained fear that it would be difficult for the country to end importation or achieve self-sufficiency in rice production by 2018 because of the importation of parboil rice from Thailand and other countries through the neighbouring ports. He stressed that the gap between demand and supply was still huge.

The insurance firms include Sovereign Trust Insurance, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, Staco Insurance Plc, and Standard Alliance. Some of them have in their various disclosures given different reasons for the delays in the submission to the exchange.

Post-listing rules at the NSE require quoted companies to submit their audited earnings reports, not later than three months or 90 calendar days after the expiration of the period.

The deadline for submission of annual report for companies with Gregorian calendar business year ended December 31, 2017 was March 31 this year. The Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said recently that the Exchange would sustain a zero-tolerance stance on dealing member firms and listed companies’ violations to help boost confidence in the market.

through our strategic engagement initiatives and with the understanding reached, members are now relieved from the heavy tax burden imposed on our member- insurance companies by the law.

“We appreciate the management of FIRS particularly its Chairman, Mr Tunde Fowler, for giving us the opportunity to make our presentation and canvass our position on the law.

We assure them of our continued support in the process of amending the law to bring it in line with global best practice.” In respect of fines, although the shareholders called on the regulatory authorities to be mild with their fines, they, however, put the blame squarely on insurance operators, saying that after years of sanctions they should by now know what to do. They said management and boards of companies that caused their firms to pay fines for infractions must be prepared to refund such payments.


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