Connect with us


Rice Importers to Pay N20b to Nigerian Government



The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is poised to recover the over N20 billion duty yet to be paid by seven rice importers for allegedly abusing their quota following the expiration of the ultimatum given them.

The Federal Government gave the importers up till last Friday to pay for the excess tonnes of rice they allegedly imported, but they did not.

The Customs, it was learnt, will move against the companies today unless they settle their debts.

No fewer than 300 Customs officers from the Federal Operation Unit (FOU), it was gathered, may be drafted to seal off their offices for allegedly violating their agreement with the Customs before taking their consignment out of the ports.

The first default notice was given by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in January. The NCS repeated the notice on April 12, warning that despite several notices, the importers did not pay up.

In its notice, the Customs claimed that Stallion/Popular Foods imported rice in excess of 475,017 metric tonnes (MT), with an accruing duty of N15.481 billion.

The second highest importer, Olam, allegedly drew an excess of 110,062 MT, amounting to N3.365 billion.

Millan Nig. Ltd is to pay N1.089 billion after allegedly importing an excess of 33,641 MT of rice; BUA is said to be owing N846.522 million for allegedly excessively importing 24,092 MT.

Ebony Agro also allegedly imported an excess of 10,070MT of rice, amounting to N328.201 million.

Also, Atafi Rice Industries Ltd is to pay N1.297 million after allegedly excessively importing 39.80MT; Arewa Rice Mill will pay N664,876 for allegedly importing an excess of 20.40MT.

The import quotas were allocated to the importers to bridge the gaps in rice supply last year in line with the government’s policy.

The policy specifies a preferential levy of 20 per cent and 10 per cent duty for the beneficiaries. Other importers were to bring in rice under the 60 per cent levy and 10 per cent duty regime.

Of the seven companies, sources close to the Federal Ministry of Finance said, it was only BUA that contacted the Ministry last Friday on its readiness to pay.

Contacted, a senior Customs officer confirmed BUA’s preparedness to pay.

“As at close of business on Friday, I understand none of them had paid. But we have a development from the Ministry of Finance excusing BUA. As for the rest, concrete action would be taken against them to recover the money they are owing the Federal Government. We will definitely take action. And don’t forget that the goods were taken with bonds to recover the money,” he said.

Another senior NCS official said: “Excess import duties on rice owed by the importers amounted to several billions of naira. Some of these companies owe the government debts amounting to billions of naira. The money was incurred for exceeding their preferential allocated quotas for imports.

“Some of the affected companies are, however, of the view that the Federal Government imposed quota in December, last year, and requested them to make payment of excess duties for importation made when quota has not been introduced.

“They accused the Federal Government of imposing penalties retroactively and that is why they are keeping sealed lips on the deadline set by the service.

“The NCS will ensure that all companies that have imported rice above their allocated quotas pay fully the amounts due to the government. Every company that owes the Federal Government must pay what they owe and the country will not lose a kobo to them.

“The country has an estimated rice demand of between 5.6 and six million tonnes per year out of which the domestic production is put at 3.2 million tonnes per year; creating a short fall of about 2.8 million tonnes, which Nigeria imports from India, Thailand and other southeastern countries of Vietnam, Bangladesh and others. Nigeria is the world’s second largest importer of milled Rice next to Philippines.

“The country spends about $1.56 to $2.2 billion to import the shortfall of two to three million tonnes of milled rice per year and that is why the collection of Customs duty on every bag of imported rice is essential to the government and officials of the service,” he said.

The loss of revenue from exceeded import quotas, the official said, is unacceptable. He vowed that the Customs will prosecute any importer that fails to pay the duty it is owing to serve as a deterrent to others.

Efforts to get the importers’ reactions failed. Olam’s Public Affairs Officer Ade Adefeko and Stallion’s image maker Manny Philipson did not pick their calls and also failed to reply a text message.

The Nation


Continue Reading
Advertisement Simply Easy Learning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 − four =


WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

Continue Reading


Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

Continue Reading


Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick