FG may issue license to rice importers

Enyeribe Anyanwu

There are strong indications that the federal government may start issuing import licenses to selected importers of rice in a bid to control the influx of the commodity into the country. This appears to be the option being considered by government after the failed attempt to impose 110 per cent duty/ levy on the nation’s staple food.
Blueprint learnt that the new policy of issuing import licenses to selected importers is being promoted by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. AdewunmiAdesina. According to government sources, five companies are being considered for issuance of the licenses.

A similar measure taken for fish imports is already causing ripples in the fishing industry as the operators in the industry have been protesting the action. Last week, fish industry operators kicked against the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to allocate fish import rights to some people “without recourse to due process”.
In a Save Our Soul message they distributed to journalists, the fish traders operating under the umbrella of Nigeria Fish Traders Association, noted that the Federal Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture was contravening the laws guiding the operation of their business by allocating import licenses against extant laws.

“Under the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria, no new law can come into operation without the passing of the bill by the National Assembly. If this is the norm, why then should the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. AkinwunmiAdesina, and the Director of Fisheries, Mrs. Folake Areola, without any laid down and distinct formula allocate fish import quota or rights to any company in the country through the Federal Department of Fisheries issuance of letter of clearance for foreign exchange purposes?” they queried.

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