The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has directed a restriction on the exit of rice from the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) into the country’s market as Customs tackled smuggling through the land borders.
NCS spokesman, Mr. Joseph Attah, in an interview with the Daily Trust also said this year, Customs seized 136,506 50kg bags of rice. “In the last one year, we have made a seizure of 250,825 bags with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N1 billion on just rice alone. Again, in the last three months alone, the Compliance Team led by Assistant Comptroller of Customs, Musa Jalo, made a seizure of 921 bags,” he revealed.
The Daily Trust reports that the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) approved 32 of such zones where imported items can be reproduced, repackaged and exported.
While 14 are operational, 18 are under construction or yet to be developed, information from NEPZA site shows. Some of the operational zones include, Lagos Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), Banki Border Free Zone (BBFZ) – Borno, Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), and Kano Free Trade Zone (KFTZ).
Attah who condemned smuggling activities said people must consider it as a national crime, while urging rice millers and other stakeholders to provide more intelligence of smugglers’ activities, desist from patronising smuggled items, and help Customs men in apprehending culprits.