In an unusual twist, the President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed smuggling for the increase in the price of rice in the local markets across the country.
The federal government has before now boasted of the nation’s self sufficiency in local rice thereby banning importation of rice through the seaports and land borders.
But, since the ban, local and foreign rice have been selling for an average of N25,000 to N30,000 per 50kg depending on location.
But, according to the minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, during an interview on a television show said lack of adequate security around the border which has continuously aided smuggling was responsible for the rising price of rice across the country.
It stated that smuggling was responsible for the rising cost of rice across the country, saying this is why there have been changes in security tactics at different borders to curb the smuggling menace.
Ahmed, while stating that smuggling was affecting the market and hurting the citizens income, 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”, she added.
Ahmed also reiterated the Federal Government’s efforts in fighting smuggling, noting that there was a combined team of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Police, the Department of Security Services (DSS) among others to rid the nation of economic saboteurs.