The Director-General of Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RPAN), Andy Ekwelem, has appealed to the Federal Government to take proactive actions to curb the sale of foreign rice in the country.
This appeal was made by him while addressing reporters in Abuja, over the influx of smuggled rice into the country.
According to reports, Ekwelem called on the government to take active and decisive action to ensure that the Nigerian borders do not become porous, as the influx of smuggled rice would stimulate the collapse of all the mills in the country, and this would exacerbate the state of unemployment in the country.
According to him, the rice value chain sub-sector had engaged about 13 million Nigerians on direct employment, hence if the border is not properly controlled, the number of people that would lose their jobs to the activities of smugglers would be much and this would be devastating for the economy.
He said addressing this challenge of smuggling was paramount so that all the efforts, commitments, and resources put in the rice value-chain sub-sector would not be a waste, adding that the gains made in the sub-sector in the last few years were only possible through the support and interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).
Ekwelem also called on the Nigerian Customs Service to step up in the manning of the borders in order to curb the activities of smugglers.