No rice imported through Apapa port in two years, says NCS
This is an indication that most of the foreign parboiled rice found in the local markets was smuggled into the country through land borders.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had in 2015 listed rice among the 41 items restricted from accessing foreign exchange (forex) from the Nigeria forex market.
Thus, importers desirous of importing the commodity will have to source for his own forex without recourse to the official market.
The Controller, Apapa Command, Jubrin Musa, who disclosed this during a media chart in Lagos, said since the last two years, the CBN had not issued Form M to any rice importer, adding that the Command has not recorded any revenue on imported rice through the port within the period.
He said: “Form M issuance is not within the purview of the Nigeria Customs Service. It is a document that is sourced from CBN.
If we see any consignment that has form M, we treat. All goods imported that are for commercial activities must have form M whether valid for foreign exchange or not valid.
CBN does that and we only treat when we see but throughout last year to date, no importation of rice has passed through Apapa. So we have not collected any duty on rice through the port.”
Musa said despite the zero duty recorded on rice, the Command has not fared badly in its revenue generation, as it has adopted various measures to up its revenue, noting that since the launch of the Customs NICIS 11 automated platform, the command’s revenue has been on the increase.
He said the Command collected N28billion in April; N33billion in May and N30billion as at June 28th, adding that in line with the Executive Order on 24 hours port operation, and operating round-the-clock even as he dismissed claims by agents that officers do not report early for cargo examination.
He however noted that one of the challenges the Command faces is the poor state of the port access road, which has made movement of goods in and out of the area difficult for users.
“We operate round the clock. If anybody wants to take his consignment in the night, he can come but the roads are so terrible, so no importers will want to take his goods through this kind of road in the night for security reasons.
So people are careful that is why they are avoiding the night.
“The bad road is affecting movement of goods inside and outside of the ports but the command is contending with the problem.
We hope that when the road is finally done, activities will pick up and there will be faster movement of delivery of consignment of the port,” he said.