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 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 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 commented on the Federal Government’s new borrowing request, which was just authorized by the National Assembly.
The Federal Government, she claims, has developed a MediumTerm 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 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.
In May, President Muhammadu Buhari requested that the Senate approve the loan request.
A request for approval in the amount of $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. They also gave its approval to a $6.1 billion increase in the sum