Customs Struggling to Stop Rice Smuggling via sea – Hamid Ali

Osaretin Balogban

The Comptroller General of Customs, Hamid Ali on Thursday said that the lack of boats has prevented the Nigerian Customs Service from effectively stopping rice smuggling.

He noted that the Customs had successfully stopped the smuggling of rice through land but struggled to stop it via high seas and waterways.

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Ali who revealed the customs’ shortcoming at the interface on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, said it has made efforts to procure more boats to increase its fleet.

“We don’t have adequate boats to patrol these waterways, and these waterways are the way smugglers use to smuggle rice into the country. We have now done our analysis, and we have been able to isolate some of the places. We just commissioned some fast ballistic boats. In our budget we are requesting to double the number of boats to effectively get our men to be mobile,” he said.

Ali also added that the smugglers have been supported by the government of the Benin Republic.

“We have taken a diplomatic angle by discussing with Benin Republic. Most of this rice comes from Benin Republic under the joint border agreement. They don’t eat the type of rice we eat in Nigeria, they eat the sticky rice,” he said.

Source: Daily Post

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