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How smuggling causes rising cost of rice in Nigerian markets ─Minister

Mr. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning

*Zainab Ahmed, Minister for Finance, Budget, and National Planning, has attributed the rising cost of rice in the Nigerian markets to the illegal activities of unpatriotic people engaging in smuggling

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In the Federal Government’s efforts at tackling smuggling in the West African country, Mr. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning,  has attributed the rising cost of rice in the markets to the illegal activities of ‘unpatriotic Nigerians’ engaging in smuggling.

The Minister, who disclosed this development while speaking during an interview on Channels TV programme Thursday, November 11, 2021, said smuggling is affecting the market and hurting the citizens.

Nigeria Customs personnel seize a lorry load of smuggled bags of rice

Mrs. Ahmed in the interview monitored in Lagos said: “Unfortunately, there is a lot of distortion, and the distortion is arising from smuggling of goods into the country.

“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.”

Nonetheless, the Minister restated the Federal Government’s continuous efforts at tackling  smuggling activities in the country.

There is a combined team of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Police, the Department of Security Services (DSS) among others to rid the nation of economic saboteurs, said she.

In regard to the Federal Government’s fresh external borrowing, Ahmed explained that the Federal Government has created a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, noting that the borrowings are not being done by fiat.

According to her, the borrowing that the Federal lawmakers in the National Assembly (NASS), Abuja, FCT, approved had been in the Legislature since early (February) 2021.

Rice smuggling on motorcycles along Badagry Expressway, in Lagos State   File Photo

“It is encapsulated in a plan, we are guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act that sets the limit of how much you can borrow at any particular time.

“We have also structured the borrowing to make sure that we have the balance between domestic borrowing as well as external financial borrowings,” the Minister noted.

ConsumerConnect reports President Muhammadu Buhari May this year had requested  the Senate to approve the loan request.

The 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan contained a request for approval in the sum of $36.8 billion, €910 million, and a grant component of $10 million.

Subsequently, the lawmakers of the upper chamber (Senate) have since then been making approvals in bits, as they approved $8.3 billion and €490 million in July.

They also approved $6.1 billion in the same month.

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