The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the volume of rice importation into Nigeria (in metric tonnes) has declined drastically in 2018, judging by figures obtained from various official sources.
Isaac Okorafor, Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Okorafor said that figures obtained from India and Thailand, (dominant rice exporters to Nigeria) indicate that as at September, Thailand had so far exported about 5,161 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria, while India sold only 426 as at July.
Attributing the reduction to concerted efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the interventions of the CBN, he said that the bank had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of rice this year.
“The figures being bandied in certain quarters were based on unrealistic assumptions such as satellite mapping of farms, expected demand by politicians for election campaigns and expected losses from flooding.
“All of these led to unauthentic conclusions that the country had imported or could import 400,000 more metric tonnes.”
Mr Okorafor added that the combined figure of 5, 587 tonnes of rice imports from India and Thailand may have been rice imported on not-valid-for-forex basis.
In another development, he said that trade figures for the second quarter of 2018 received from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that total imports value was N2.10 billion, 16.3 per cent lower than the first quarter, which was N2.51 billion and -19.9 per cent lower than the first quarter of 2017 N2.63 billion.
“The report on the bureau’s site showed that the value of imported agricultural goods in the second quarter of 2018 (N224.52 billion) increased by 21.7 per cent from quarter one, (N184.49 billion) and lower by -3.14 per cent from quarter two, 2017 (N231.80 billion).
“According to the report, raw materials imports in quarter two, 2018 (N261.10 billion) declined by -8.3 per cent compared to quarter one, (N284.81 billion) and lower by -14.2 per cent compared to quarter two, 2017 (N304.43 billion).
“The solid minerals import in quarter two, 2018 (N17.29 billion) increased by 37 per cent on a quarter-to-quarter basis (N12.62 billion), but declined by -91 per cent on a year-to-year basis (N193.16 billion).
“Energy goods imports in quarter two, 2018 (N98.17 million) was 202.6 per cent higher than quarter one (N32.45 million), and 288.5 per cent higher than quarter two, 2017 (N25.27 million).
“The NBS reports that the value of manufactured goods imported in quarter two, 2018 (N1,175.86 billion) declined by -1.2 per cent over the previous quarter (N1,189.97 billion) but increased by 1.6 per cent over the same quarter in 2017.”
He recalled that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the CBN had been collaborating to reduce the volume of rice importation through what has become famed as the Rice Revolution.