Nigeria needs N428.9bn supply of rice to shore up local production capacity
However, statistics by a global trade portal Index Mundi revealed that the country imported 1.8million tonnes or 28 percent of local consumption last year, while local production of the grain dropped by 6.25 percent from 5.04million tonnes to 4.7million tonnes in the period.
The government has been making substantial efforts for a decade to encourage rice cultivation in order to eliminate imports through subsidised loans, cheap fertiliser, free farmland and tax rebates.
Also, the Federal Government had made moves to attract N250 billion investments in rice production following plans to establish an additional 14 rice mills in the country.
However, efforts to boost domestic production have been curtailed by smuggling through the porous borders.
Between January and April 2021, the Federal Operation Unit, Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos seized 41,652 bags of 50kilogrammes smuggled parboiled rice from Idiroko and Ipokia in Ogun State and Lagos.
Also in Ogun State, 20,538 bags of rice were intercepted by the service between March and April 2021.
Last year, the Federal Government and the Republic of Benin entered into an agreement in Abuja to end the smuggling of rice.
The agreement was sealed between a delegation from Benin, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.
It was gathered that 80 percent of the smuggled grain was imported through Benin as Thailand price stood at $507 per tonne.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Maifata has said that smuggling of foreign rice would soon come down to zero levels, while the local rice would fill the gap conveniently if farmers received the necessary support from the government.
He however urged all stakeholders to join in the campaign against the activities of smugglers through advocacy and sensitisation to ensure attitudinal change on the part of the outlaws.
Traffic gridlock returns to Apapa port as Federal government closes Total bridge for maintainance works
“Given the impact the closure will have on Port users, the Authority in partnership with LASTMA, Police, FRSC, and the Nigerian Navy have worked out alternative routes and are on the ground to manage the traffic situation in the affected areas.
“The Authority wishes to solicit the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders as we continue to support measures to mitigate the temporary disruptions, the NPA pleaded.
NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters
The eyewitness reporter
Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.
“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.
Comptroller Nnadi mourns death of retired customs officer, DCG Sanusi
“He passed on about an hour ago at a private hospital in Abuja. The Janaza prayers hold after the Zuhr prayers (1 pm) at the National Mosque, Abuja In Shaa Allah,”
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