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Reps Probe Stallion Group for Exceeding Rice Import Quotas

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – For exceeding the rice import quotas allocated to it and in the process owing the Federal Government N15 Billion, the House of Representatives on Thursday ordered an investigation of the Stallion Group and other companies granted rice import waivers under the new federal government’s rice policy.

The resolution of the House follows the adoption of a motion moved under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Simon Arabo.

The House investigation is to among other things determine the approved quota granted each of the concerned companies to import rice into the country, whether the affected companies had exceeded their import quota and how much the companies owed the federal government.

In addition, the investigation is expected to recommend appropriate sanctions against any firm that exceeds its import quota, and recover monies owed the federal government.

The House directed its Committee on Customs which is saddled with the probe, to submit its findings and recommendations to the House within three weeks.

Leading debates on the motion, Hon. Arabo said the commendable efforts of the

federal government over the new rice policy which is intended to encourage local rice production with a view to ensuring self-sufficiency in rice production by 2016, was being frustrated by lack of compliance with the guidelines issued by the government through the ministry of agriculture.

He said that the “Stallion Group, Popular Foods and Olam Nigeria Limited in collusion with their foreign investors have imported rice exceeding their approved quotas, and thus owe the federal government about N28.3 billion in import duties.

Specifically, the lawmaker revealed that Stallion Group and Popular Foods who were owing the federal government N15 billion have gone ahead to import another 85, 000 metric tons of rice into Nigeria.

“The actions of these companies are capable of scuttling the nation’s self-sufficiency in rice production, an act which denies the federal government the needed revenue from import duties, he added.

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