ByÂ Michael Eboh
LAGOS â€” RICE millers,Â importers and distributors of Nigeria, RMIDN, has raised alarm over the upsurge in rice smuggling into the country through the border between the country and the Republic of Benin; and lamented that the nation lost over N17.3 billion that would have accrued to it from rice in 2009 to the activities of the smugglers.
RMIDNÂ in a statement by its General Secretary, Mr. Shuaibu Mohammed, also called on the government to put a check on the activities of smugglers to prevent a further loss of revenue, stressing thatÂ Nigeria also lost over N20 billion to rice smuggling into the country through its land borders between January and August 2006.
According to the group, â€œfigures for rice imports into Nigeria were reported to be declining while rice
imports to the Republic of Benin, from where it is smuggled into Nigeria is reported to be increasing.
â€œIt should be noted that the brands of rice shipped to Cotonou to be smuggled into NigeriaÂ are not certified by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
â€œIn 2009, over 560,000 metric tons was smuggled into the country of which 300,000 tons came in October, November and December. For every ton of rice smuggled into the country, the government of Nigeria losses $206. This equals a revenue loss of N30,900 at an exchange rate of N150 to the dollar.â€