Daily Watch – Customs moves against rice importers as CBN makes cash available to farmers
The Nigeria Customs Service has sealed the warehouses and business premises of four major rice importing firms over unpaid rice duty and levies worth ₦24 billion, after it issued several warnings. The NCS said it would not allow the discharge of the affected companies’ imports through any of the nation’s ports. The affected companies are Olam (Amuwo, Lagos), Stallion/Popular Foods/Masco Agro (Iganmu, Lagos) Ebony Agro (Wuse, Abuja) and Conti Agro (Victoria Island, Lagos).
Funds will become made more accessible to farmers through some the CBN’s funding programmes which include the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, and the ₦220 billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development fund. The funds would be made available to rice farmers through the Micro-Finance Banks at 9% interest rate. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele further warned banks against contravening the rules.
The CBN said that Nigeria spent $2.4 billion on the importation of rice, between January 2012 and May this year. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele said the country was spending so much on imports, and that this informed the bank’s decision to ban forex access for the importation of 41 items, signalling that he had no plans to reverse the policy that has been heavily criticized.
Honeywell Flourmills said its 2015 profit before tax was down by 66%. Revenue at the pasta and confectionery maker also declined by 10.9 percent to ₦49 billion, according to filings with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.