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Customs intercepts Niger Republic-bound grains

The Zone ‘B” Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted two Niger Republic-bound trucks loaded with grains, a  PREMIUM TIMES report…

The Zone ‘B” Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted two Niger Republic-bound trucks loaded with grains, a  PREMIUM TIMES report said.

In the last few days, officials of the NCS intercepted grains being taken to Niger Republic in Katsina, Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa states.

PREMIUM TIMES said it gathered through a service intelligence report that the two trucks were intercepted on Thursday around 1pm by Kebbi and Kangiwa/Argungu Natsini “FOU roving team.”

Grains in the two trucks include maize, millet and beans, according to the report.

“Two canters loaded with grains, comprises maize, millet and beans going to Niger Republic were also intercepted. Both vehicles were taken to Customs House in Kebbi,” part of the report reads.

According to another memo seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the FOU Zone ‘B’ Kaduna has deployed more officers in its area of responsibility to ensure there is no movement of goods or people in and out of the country.

The memo, prepared by S. M. Mansur, the Unit’s staff officer, was approved by Wasa Chedi, the zonal comptroller.

“All borders in our Area of Responsibility under Zone ‘B’ remained closed pending federal government’s directives. All officers in charge should ensure that nothing goes out or comes in, including grains of all sorts,” the memo read.

Mansur warned officers in charge of units to ensure compliance as “any breach of this instruction, the O/C will be held responsible.”

Back story

Following the 2023 coup that ousted Mohamed Bazoum as president of Niger Republic, Nigeria shut its land borders with the country and cut its electricity supply as part of sanctions against the military junta.

Security has been intensified on the borders and around border communities, especially in the North where Nigeria shares expansive borders with Niger Republic, covering Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno states.

In recent months, Nigerians have been grappling with inflation and economic hardship being exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidy and floating of the naira last year.

The prices of foodstuffs and other commodities have been soaring, weakening the already fragile economy of the country.

The Customs Service said it intended to intensify surveillance to stop grains from being taken out of the country, which it said was aggravating the hard economic situation.

About 15 trucks of grain were intercepted in Sokoto State on Sunday, while 50 more were intercepted in Zamfara State on Monday and four intercepted in Kano State, also on Sunday.

Customs sells 25kg rice at N10,000

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service has commenced the sale of seized bags of rice to the public at the cost of N10,000 per 25kg.

The comptroller-general of the NCS, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, said the process for the sale of the food items had been done, such that a form with all the details of the applicant, including the National Identification Number (NIN), would be submitted and a bar code generated for the collection of the commodity.

Adeniyi stated that 10 registration points would be opened for members of the public, with a view to easing the purchase process.

He said the move to sell the seized items was to crash the price of food items and shore up the value of the naira.

He warned against the resale of purchased rice, adding that anybody caught reselling will be arrested and possibly prosecuted.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that thousands of people stormed one of the facilities belonging to the Service on Harvey Road at the Yaba area of Lagos to buy bags of rice.

Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to our correspondent thanked the Service for coming to their aid at a time they felt all hopes had been lost.

A petty trader who identified herself as Shade Tajudeen, said the price of rice in the market had made the items far from the reach of the downtrodden masses.

Another beneficiary, Chika Maduka, said the rice would go a long way in easing the suffering and hardship brought on common Nigerians as a result of food scarcity.

CBN slashes Customs duty rate to N1,488

In an action that appeared to have resulted from the call in a Daily Trust editorial of Thursday, 22nd February, 2024, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in the official foreign exchange window on Friday,  slashed the exchange rate for computing Customs duties to N1,488.

The Customs duty rate was reviewed downwards from N1, 605.82/$ to N1, 488.896/$ yesterday,  according to information on the official trade portal of the Nigeria Customs Service. That cut rrepresented a reduction of about 7.3 per cent.

Still, on November 14, 2023, the rate was adjusted to N783.174/$, and in December, it was adjusted to N951.941/$. On February 2, it was moved to N1,356.883/$ and on February 3, it was moved to N1,413.62/$. Later this month, it was adjusted to N1,417.635/$ then N1,493.23/$ and ultimately to N1604.08.

Yesterday’s cut in the rate comes as some sort of relief to importers who have been battling high duty rates, which results in higher prices of items when they reach their final consumers.


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