A 50kg bag of rice increased to N17,000 from N14,000 it was early in the month as the federal government closed western border with Benin republic to curb rice smuggling into the country, WESTERN POST can report.
This is on the heels of the federal government’s attempt to boost local production.
The government wants Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice and has imposed import controls but these have kept prices high and led to smuggling from Benin into Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari has introduced policies since taking office in 2015 that are aimed at curbing imports to boost local production and conserve foreign exchange reserves.
He said rice smuggling across the western border threatened his policy of self-sufficiency.
“The country has saved huge sums of money which would otherwise have been expended on importing rice using our scarce foreign reserves,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman.
He explained, “We cannot allow smuggling of the product at such alarming proportions to continue.”