Customs stops rice through Free Trade Zones
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) has issued a directive to restrict the exit of rice from the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) into the country’s market as Customs is tackling with rice smuggling through the land borders.
According to Mr. Joseph Attah, the Nigerian Customs Services spokesman, in an interview with Daily Trust said that a total of 136,506,50kg bags of rice have been seized by the customs. “in the last one year, we have made a seizure of 250,825 bags with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over ₦1 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 921 bags,” he revealed.
According to the Daily Trust reports that the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) approves 32 of such zones imported items can be reproduced, repackaged and exported.
According to the NEPZA site, 14 zones out of the 32 zones are operational while the remaining 18 are under construction or are in the process of being developed. 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 condemned smuggling activities as he said people must see it as a national crime, he also urged rice millers and other stakeholders to provide more information on smugglers’ activities, desist from patronizing smuggled items, and help the Nigerian Customs in apprehending culprits.