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Don’t import rice in free trade zones but ports, CG of Customs warns operators

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To limit chances of abuse of privilege using their facilities, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has banned rice import in trade free zones, insisting that rice imports remain at seaports.

Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr. Joseph Attah, in a statement explained that the restriction became necessary because some operators were allegedly taking undue advantage of the trade zone.

It would be recalled that some time last year, some free zone operators were accused of conducting ship-to-ship transfer of imported wares, a way of evading duties and allied revenues due to the federal government.

Attah said “So, if we block the land borders and allow operators of free trade zone to bring in rice through the seaports, then our efforts at the land borders will be in vain.”

Continuing, Customs image maker said smuggling is a crime like armed robbery, adding that “We have the commands covering those border lines. We also have the federal operation units that cover these land borders and to build another layer of policing, we have what we call the compliance team”.