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FG links rice price hike to porous borders

By News Desk

The Federal Government has said that the lack of adequate security around the border which has continuously aided smuggling was responsible for the rising price of rice across the country.

It stated that smuggling was responsible for the rising cost of rice across the country, saying this is why there have been changes in security tactics at different borders to curb the smuggling menace.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed these during an interview on a popular television show yesterday while speaking on the efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to boost the economy.

Ahmed, while stating that smuggling was affecting the market and hurting the citizens income, said: “Unfortunately there is a lot of distortion and the distortion is arising from smuggling of goods into the country.

“We have unpatriotic Nigerians that will bring rice that is poor quality, some of it not even fit for human consumption, and come and dump it in the market”, she added.

Ahmed also reiterated the Federal Government’s efforts in fighting smuggling, noting that there was a combined team of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Police, the Department of Security Services (DSS) among others to rid the nation of economic saboteurs.

READ ALSO: Senate approves $16.23bn, €1.02bn external borrowings for FG

While reacting to the fresh borrowing request by the Federal Government which was recently approved by the National Assembly, the minister said: “the Federal Government has created a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, noting that the borrowings are not being done by fiat.

According to her, the borrowing that was approved by the lawmakers, the Minister noted, has been before the National Assembly since earlier in the year before its approval at the end of 2021.

“It is encapsulated in a plan, we are guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act that sets the limit of how much you can borrow at any particular time. We have also structured the borrowing to make sure that we have the balance between domestic borrowing as well as external financial borrowings,” she added.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier in the year asked the Senate to approve the loan request as part of its external borrowing plans.

The 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan contained a request for approval in the sum of $36.8 billion, €910 million, and a grant component of $10 million.

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