Nigerian Minister of National Planning, Dr Shamsdeen Usman has disclosed that with the upsurge in the local production of rice in Nigeria, the custom revenue often generated from the importation of the staple food has dropped to about 50 percent.
Shamsdeen made the disclosure in Lagos yesterday at a joint press briefing organised by the ministry and Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) ahead of 19th Nigerian Economic Summit slated for Abuja in September 2013.
According to the minister, the transformation effort of the current administration has been yielding positive result especially in agricultural sector to the point that rice importation which used to be a common phenomenon has indeed dropped drastically.
“The transformation agenda of the present administration has yielded lots of positive results in the area of agriculture. In fact the area of rice production, there has been drastic reduction in its importation. There are even fears that the revenue being generated by custom from the importation has drastically reduced by 50 percent.
This is a fact you can cross-check from the banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria. They are the ones monitoring it,” Shamsdeen said.
The Federal Government had prior to this time set 2014 deadline in the importation of rice as it insisted that the nation has the capacity to produce the staple food in abundance without importing from other countries.
Dr Shamsdeen added that already, agriculture has contributed 40 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product between 2011 and 2012.