The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday, said smuggling is responsible for the rising cost of rice in the country.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, the Minister said smuggling is affecting the market and hurting the citizens.
“Unfortunately there is a lot of distortion and the distortion is arising from smuggling of goods into the country,” the Minister said.
“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 also reiterated the Federal Government’s efforts in fighting smuggling, noting that there is 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.
The Minister also reacted to the fresh borrowing request by the Federal Government which was recently approved by the National Assembly.
According to her, the Federal Government has created a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy, noting that the borrowings are not being done by fiat.
The borrowing that was approved by the lawmakers, the Minister noted, has been in the National Assembly since early this year.
“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.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in May, asked the Senate to approve the loan request.
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.
Lawmakers of the upper chamber have since then been making approvals in bits.
They approved $8.3 billion and €490 million in July. They also approved $6.1 billion in the same month.