Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, claimed on Thursday that smuggling is to blame for the country’s rising rice prices.
The Minister stated smuggling is impacting the market and harming citizens during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, there is a lot of distortion,” the Minister stated, “and the distortion is caused by smuggling of goods into the country.”
“We have unpatriotic Nigerians who will bring low-quality rice, some of which is unfit for human consumption, and dump it in the market.”
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She also reaffirmed the Federal Government’s efforts to combat smuggling, saying that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Police, and the Department of Security Services (DSS), among others, are working together to rid the country of economic saboteurs.
The Minister also spoke about the Federal Government’s new borrowing request, which was recently approved by the National Assembly.
The Federal Government, she claims, has developed a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, adding that the borrowings are not done through fiat.
The borrowing that was approved by MPs has been before the National Assembly since early this year, according to the Minister.
“It’s encapsulated in a plan, and we’re guided by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which establishes the maximum amount you can borrow at any given time.”
“We’ve also structured the borrowing to ensure a balance of domestic and external financial borrowings,” she added.
In May, President Muhammadu Buhari requested that the Senate approve the loan request.
A request for approval for $36.8 billion, €910 million, and a grant component of $10 million was included in the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
Since then, the upper chamber’s lawmakers have been making approvals in pieces.
In July, they approved $8.3 billion and €490 million. In the same month, they also approved $6.1 billion.