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A serious cold war is brewing across the Nigerian rice producing enterprises between private investors’ without any form of assistance from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and beneficiaries of the scheme.
Whereas private investors are interested in collapsing the currently exorbitant prices of rice which is hovering between N24,000 and N27,000 depending on the part of the country one is buying from, ABP beneficiaries, who are currently under serious veiled pressure from the CBN to begin repayment of their loans want the high price to remain untouched so as to recover and make unprecedented profit.
Observers say the recent call on Nigerian rice farmers to reduce price by the Governor of the apex bank was mere lip services as his target is for the farmers to make more money for seamless repayment of their debts.
Already, in one of the North East state (name with held), committees have been set up across all the Local Government to drive recovery of the ABP loans, thus raising questions on whether the CBN securitized the loans in the first instance.
However, top corporate rice producers have started making strategic moves to burst the rice price hike cable by working towards crashing the high price.
For example, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Santuscom Agro-Hub Investment Nigeria Limited, producers of Ogoja Rice, Chief Paul Santus, has disclosed the a move to crash price of 50 kilogram bag of its Ogoja Rice brand to N14, 000 ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations despite closure of land borders by the Federal Government.
Santus made the disclosure while speaking on the efforts made by his company to take up the challenge arising from the closure of land borders, he explained that his company has scaled up production of Ogoja Rice brand locally produced in O’akwa-Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.
In his views, Nigerians should not panic ahead of the festive period because all has been put in place to meet national rice demands against the backdrop of the skyrocketing price of the commodity in markets across the country, especially after the closure of borders by the government.
Business Hilights recalls that prices of the commodity had risen to as much as N25, 000 to N28, 000 following the recent closure of land borders by the Federal Government depending on cities of purchase.
Continuing, Santus averred that “We in Santuscom Agro-hub Investment Nigeria Limited, producers of the popular Ogoja Rice brand is concerned with the skyrocketing price of rice after the closure of land borders by the federal government.
“We want Nigerians to understand the action by the government and notwithstanding we want to assure Nigerians that as a company we will do everything possible before the Christmas and New Year celebrations to crash the prevailing and current market price of rice as we will be selling at N14, 000 per 50 kilogram bag of rice anytime from now.
“We will soon flood the market with the popular Ogoja Rice which will in turn drastically reduce the current prevailing price in the market.
“Everything is ready for us to commence serious production of high quality and stone-free Ogoja Rice that would be very affordable and accessible by consumers in any part of Nigeria.”
Another cheerful news from the company is that there are over 1,000 hectares of rice farm ready to be harvested anytime from now to add to the current production of the commodity.
He added that “We have the capacity to crash the price because we have huge tonnes of paddy rice and high milling capacity from the rice mills we run,” stressing that “The company is set to crash the price of rice with the 1,000 hectares of rice farm that is ready for harvest anytime from now in O’akwa in Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.”
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