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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Osinbajo declares smuggling a threat to Nigeria’s economy

- Vice president Yemi Osinbajo says Buhari asked him to head a team to work out solutions to the smuggling problem in Nigeria
- He says Nigerians should prepare to pay higher electricity tariff

Vice president Yemi Osinbajo has described smuggling is an existential threat to Nigeria's economy which could no longer be permitted.Osinbajo made the statement on Monday, November27 at the 6th presidential quarterly business forum for private sector stakeholders, held at the presidential villa in Abuja, Daily Trust reports.

The vice president said President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to head a team to work out what ought to be done on the issue.He said:“Last year, there was over 500,000 metric tonnes of rice around Christmas, which the Minister of Agriculture told us about and how it came in through one of our neighbours, but we blocked it."Now, three shiploads of rice have left Thailand, 120,000 metric tonnes, going to this same neighbourof ours who have very large warehouses where they store this rice."It is very clear that this rice is for us because our neighbours don’t consume parboiled rice, they consume the white broken rice. It is clear that our neighbours do excellent business, with allowing rice to come into Nigeria and other products including poultry, Osinbajo stated.He said it was important to make neighbouring countries know that Nigeria will not tolerate smuggling."I think it is important for us as a country, to make the point clear, that we are not going to accept that. We are all within the same economic zone and work together, so we go in a friendly and polite manner as possible, to ensure that this practice stops, "Osinbajo said.

"For those who are familiar with it, the duty in some of these neighbouring countries, especially for rice, is deliberately set lower than ours, it is about a fourth of ours. We have increased duty tax so as to discourage importation but they would naturally drop duty to encourage import and then it would come to Nigeria."Meanwhile,Osinbajo has said that Nigerians should prepare to pay higher electricity tariff, the Nation reports. Dakingsweb.com gathered that he said the higher electricitypayment is inevitable.The vice president spoke on Monday, November 27, at the sixth presidential business forum held at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.The sixth presidential business forum, which focused on agriculture and its value chains, had the minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbe; the minister of industry, trade and investment,Okechukwu Enelamah; officials of government agencies and stakeholders in the agriculture sector in attendance.

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