GOVT TO BAN RICE IMPORTATION

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Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, has revealed plans by the federal government to ban rice importation.

Recently the federal government through the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), ordered the immediate removal of rice from import restriction list and the re-introduction of import duty payment at land borders.

Before then, importing rice through the land borders was banned while that of seaports was approved due to enormous challenges involved in monitoring and controlling the former.

But plans are underway for a blanket ban on rice importation in the next two years.

This was made known on Wednesday by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari while speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja after some of the governors and other stakeholders held a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the new policy on agriculture and food sustainability in his office.

He said: “We discussed how we can boost rice production in Nigeria and start thinking about how we are going to put policy in place on how rice importation will be banned in the country.

“We have the potential, we have the human resources, we have the arable land to grow rice.

“In the next two years, we will not need to bring rice from outside Nigeria. We are going to ban it.

“It is only in Nigeria, a country of millions of people, that there is no food security. We discussed the policy with the relevant permanent secretaries and CBN governor.

“The policy is going to be in place and we gave our commitment that we are ready to support the government policy in ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in food production in the next two years.

“Nigeria is currently a major importer of rice. Now, the political will is in place to stop it. We in about nine states are going to be seriously engaged in massive rice production.

“We are hoping that in the next two years, rice importation into Nigeria will be banned. We are committed and the political will is in place.”

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