Senate laments high rate of smuggling in Nigeria

Senate laments high rate of smuggling in Nigeria

- The Senate President Bukola Saraki at a meeting lamented about the high rate of smuggling in Nigeria

- Saraki said smuggling would rubbish any policies put in place by the federal government

- Saraki urged the Comptroller General of Customs Service, Hameed Ali, to put an end to the menace

Senate President Bukola Saraki has called on the Comptroller General of Customs Service, Hameed Ali, to put an end to the menace of smuggling in Nigeria.

Saraki said the high rate of smuggling in the country is killing small business and giving the government sleepless night.

He made this statement at a public hearing on tackling smuggling by the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Thursday, July 14.

Saraki told Ali who was also present at the event that he could wear anything to approach the Senate if he could end smuggling in Nigeria.

He said: “To the Comptroller General of Customs, let me say on a lighter note, that once you end smuggling, even if you want to wear jeans and T-Shirt, I will move the motion that you should wear jeans and T-Shirt.

“But on a serious note, this issue is very important. Let us all work towards ending this menace once and for all.”

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Recall that earlier reported Ali had refused to appear before the Senate in his uniform, after being summoned several times by them.

Saraki said smuggling constitutes the “greatest threat” to the economic diversification drive of the Buhari administration.

He said: “The singular greatest threat to the delivery of the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari on the diversification of the economy is this issue of smuggling,” the Senate President said.

“The level of smuggling that we are seeing cannot continue because they will definitely rubbish all the policies of government if allowed to go on. I am saying that with all sincerity and all level of responsibility and I tell you why.

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“Today, the greatest threat to small holder farmers is smuggling. Today, rice farmers who have gone to take loans either from the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) or from commercial banks are being threatened by rice coming in from across the borders at highly subsidised rate.

“The meaning of that is that the imported rice will always be cheaper than those produced by our local farmers. A time will come, if we do not do anything, that these farmers will not be able to pay their loans to the banks and this will result in serious crisis.

"The banks that have given loans to these farmers, will also have crisis in their hands. And for the Central Banks that has intervened with billions of Naira again will not be able to recoup their money.”

Meanwhile, earlier reported that the Nigeria Customs Service has cautioned members of the public to be careful in buying any type of rice.

The customs said that there are poisonous and deadly bags of rice in Nigerian markets.

Reports have it that Comptroller Udo-Aka Emmanuel, the area controller of the command, made this known during a press briefing in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

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