Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 3 December 2015 | 2,601 times
The Senate has adopted the report and recommendation of its Adhoc Committee on Import Duty Waivers, Concession and Grants, on suspension of importation of rice in the county through land borders. They recommended that importers should revert to lifting from the sea.
The recommendation of the committee was submitted by Senator Tayo Alasoadura during the plenary session of the Senate on Wednesday. Receiving the report, Senate President Bukola Saraki, stressed the importance of rice importation to Nigerians and, therefore, charged senators not to add sentiment in their contributions to the recommendation of the committee.
His words: “We must say the truth. The aspect of revenue in this issue cannot be overemphasised while neglecting the sustainability of agricultural policies in Nigeria.”
Senator Jibrin Barau drew attention of the Senate to newspaper reports alleging that rice importers’ lobbyists are dolling out cash to avoid the stoppage of its importation into the country.
He said: “At this point in our national life, what we have to do is to protect and encourage the local producers of rice in our country and ensure that Nigerian Customs is equipped to protect our borders as well.”
While supporting the debate on suspension of rice importation, Senator Bassey Akpan, noted: “It affects the local economy negatively and should therefore be abolished,” adding that policies and concessions that will make local rice farming attractive must be formulated.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi, who was of different view, argued that while Nigerian Customs generates revenue through rice importation, its effect on the economy must not be overlooked in the interest of Nigerians.
•Photo shows Senator Tayo Alasoadura.
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