Traders union welcomes rice, maize import window with mixed feelings


The National Harmonized Traders Union of Nigeria has expressed mixed feelings about the Federal Government’s move to give tax holidays on the import of rice, maize, brown rice, cowpeas and other food items.

The group said the action could be good since it is a temporary measure to cushion the effects of hunger in the land.

Speaking in a release he personally signed and issued to newsmen in Kano, the President of the Union, Bature AbdulAziz, reminded the government that with the problems of forex, even with the import duty-free window measures taken, the prices of rice and other commodities will still be high for the common man in Nigeria.

He said, “For example, if one is importing rice from wherever the dollar rate does not change. After the importation, a bag of rice will arrive in Nigeria at the rate of over N60,000, and it will still reach the last person at the rate of N70,000, so the change in the whole thing would be minimal.

“Yes, the price of commodities is unstable in Nigeria today, coupled with the lack of money among the public. This is enough to welcome any move to give citizens some relief, but this should not be a permanent position of the government,” AbdulAziz remarked.

Saga Gist reports that the Federal Government had announced the suspension of duties, tariffs, and taxes on some essential food items imported through land and sea borders.

Kyari disclosed that the listed food items, which include maize, wheat, husked brown rice and cowpeas, will enjoy a 150-day duty-free import window.

Reacting, the Chairman of Traders commended President Tinubu for his unflinching concern for the well-being of Nigerian citizens, but he insisted that the government should, in the context of the duty-free import window, try not to harm the nation’s farming community.

He said that farmers in Nigeria are also trying their very best, but the problem is that farming implements are not coming to them as needed. “You can see that the rainy season is on, but yet nobody has given farmers anything as tools they need to carry out their activities.

“What the government should do to ensure that Nigerian agriculture prospers is to ensure that everything farmers need is provided to them when due. If the authorities do this, certainly the nation will not need any imported food items.”

“If the government prioritizes the importation of paddy rice, I’m assuring you that many people will be gainfully employed because it will still need to be processed and its price will be as low as anything,” AbdulAziz added.

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