Two major players in the rice importation business, Stallion Group and Olam International owe Nigeria N44 billion as import duties on rice they imported since May 2014, the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Rice Waivers revealed, yesterday.
The committee, tasked with investigating alleged abuse of rice waivers’ policy in the country, has vowed to recover the money from the companies.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Adamu Aliero, who spoke when top representatives of the companies appeared before his committee, said: “There is no way the government will ignore this kind of money.
“We have to ensure that this money is collected and deposited into the federation account.
“The companies imported rice into the country without paying waivers, off-loaded it into their warehouses only to refuse to pay required duties when asked by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS.”
According to Aliero, when the NCS demanded the money from Stallion Group, the company opted to drag NCS to court.
A subsidiary of Olam International, Olam Nigeria has set up a rice mill in Nasarawa State to key into the country’s plan to be rice-sufficient and ban importation in the next few years.