The Minister for Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed says smugglers are to blame for rising rice price in the country’s markets.
Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today program on Thursday, the minister said smugglers were harming citizens by importing substandard goods.
“Unfortunately there is a lot of distortion and the distortion is arising from smuggling of goods into the country,” the Minister said.
“We have unpatriotic Nigerians that will bring rice that is poor quality, some of it not even fit for human consumption and come and dump it in the market.”
The minister stressed that there are joint forces provided by the government to fight smuggling and crackdown on activities that hinder the country’s economy.
The Nigerian government has banned the importation of rice from the country in a bid to boost its production in the country.
Since March 2016, the Nigerian Customs Service had restricted the importation of rice across land borders throughout the country. The total ban on importing rice into the country was first introduced in July 2015 with a view to promoting self-sufficiency in rice by encouraging domestic production.
The ban was partially lifted in October 2015, when imports across land borders were re-authorized but reimplemented in March 2016.