Customs Allege Plot To Massively Smuggle Rice Into Nigeria

Hameed Ali, Customs, RiceThe Nigeria Customs Service has raised alarm over a plot to illegally import 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), made the allegation during a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He revealed that at least 117,000 bags of illegally imported rice have been seized by the Customs since January 2016.

Reps summon finance and agric ministers
Impounded bags of rice

The Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs Yetunde Oni, also corroborated the claims.

She said that the activities of smugglers were affecting Nigeria’s revenue generation, despite its economic recession.

Prior to the development, Customs authority in Ogun State Command decried the increase in the activities of smugglers.

Addressing reporters after vehicles loaded with bags of rice were seized at Idiroko border, the Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Mr Multafu Waindu, paraded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of rice which were being smuggled into Nigeria from the Republic of Benin.

According to him, the vehicles and the grains were impounded around 3:00am at the porous Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state where the smuggled bags of rice and the vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers.

Economy In Recession

Meanwhile, Nigerians have lamented the upsurge in the cost of rice from 12,000 Naira to over 20,000 Naira in some parts of the country, a fall out of the economic recession.

Economic analysts have said that more persons could go into smuggling of rice due to the increase in price, with most of them opting for Benin Republic where they could get rice for as low as 12,000 Naira.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was a result of the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.gas-pipeline-vandalisation

Some militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, as the government agreed to dialogue with the militants after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

In spite of the development, both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers, alleging a breach of agreements as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.


IMF Predicts Nigeria Will Be Out of Recession By 2017

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the Nigerian economy will grow by 0.6% in 2017, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

In the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product is expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%.

Nigeria’s Current Account Balance is however forecast to slump further by 0.4% next year.

According to the Bretton Woods institution, the projected increase in global growth in 2017 to 3.4% hinges crucially on rising growth in emerging market and developing economies.

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017Beyond 2017, IMF expects global growth to gradually increase by 3.8% in 2021.

This recovery in global activity, which is expected to be driven entirely by emerging market and developing economies, is premised on the normalization of growth rates in countries like Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Latin America, and parts of the Middle East.

Sub-Saharan economies

In its spot assessment of sub-Saharan Africa, IMF sees increasing multi-speed growth.

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017
IMF’s latest forecasts on fiscal balance and Gross Public Debt [Click here to view full image]
The institution however revised down growth projections for the last quarter of 2016 in the region to reflect the challenging macroeconomic conditions in economies like Nigeria.

In Nigeria for example, this revision was based on the contracted economic activity followed by disruptions to oil production, foreign currency shortages resulting from lower oil receipts, lower power generation, and weak investor confidence.

It says GDP projections in South Africa remains flat.

The report added that policy uncertainty in the country is making the adjustment to weaker terms of trade more difficult and that South Africa won’t see any modest recovery till next year as the commodity and drought shocks dissipate and power supply improves.

Angola is similarly adjusting to a sharp drop in oil export receipts. It is not expected to grow this year and will experience only feeble growth next year.

By contrast, several of the region’s non-resource exporters, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Senegal, are expected to continue to expand very robustly at more than 5% in 2016, benefiting from low oil prices and enjoying healthy private consumption and investment growth rates.

Off the mark?

For Nigeria, there have been several predictions about when the country’s economy will turn the corner.

Global credit rating agency, Moody’s, also predicts that Nigeria will be out of recession in 2017.

A Senior Vice President at Moody’s, Aurelien Mali said they expect Nigeria to contain pressures on its public finances in the short term.

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele a few weeks ago however projected that the nation’s economy will exit the recession by the end of this year.

He says this follows the various measures put in place by the Federal Government and monetary authorities becomes manifest.

One of such measures he listed includes the establishment of a bridge fund to stimulate the economy.

In his words, “The worst is over…”